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Bangladesh is to appeal to the European Commission to remove its air cargo and mail consignments from the “high-risk category”.
The country claims it has taken “adequate” steps to ensure better aviation security.
A presentation of the measures taken to improve security at Bangladesh airports will be made in the hope that the EC will move it from the red category to green.
“We are hopeful it will remove us from high-risk category as we have improved the security situation. That would greatly help us [to resolve our] image crisis,” a senior civil aviation ministry official told The Loadstar.
“We’ve already met every requirement to ensure aviation security,” added the official.
He said the matter had been discussed at the EU-Bangladesh joint commission meeting in late November, where the EU side commended the steps taken and invited Bangladesh to make the presentation in Brussels.
Following the progress on security measures, the UK lifted the ban on direct air cargo flights from Bangladesh in February 2018, he said. Previously, goods and mail from Dhaka was subject to additional screening from a third country such as Qatar, UAE or Thailand.
However, the rest of the EU had kept Bangladeshi airports in the “red zone”.
At the November meeting, civil aviation officials said they had taken “significant steps, such as organisational structure, training of security personnel, installation of modern ECAC-certified screening equipment, augmentation of internal quality assurance activities and national level quality control activities”.
They added that security at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport had been reinforced and there was ongoing training and professional development and internal quality assurance.
These measures had been demonstrated in ICAO’s Aviation Security Audit in 2018, they said.
The audit revealed that Bangladesh’s compliance indicator for standards of annex 17 to the Chicago Conventions was 77.71%, which is slightly below the global average (79.22%), but above the general Asia Pacific (72.90%) indicator.
And Bangladesh’s level of compliance in cargo security (83.88%) was above the global 74.78% and Asia Pacific’s 69.54% average, added the civil aviation officials.
The ministry official said he had had talks with the EU delegation’s top officials in Dhaka, who advised him that, with the security measures taken so far, “Bangladesh can make a strong claim to remove the high-risk category”.
When contacted, officials at the EU Delegation to Bangladesh said its status as a “high-risk” country under EU legislation was the result of a dynamic and continuous risk assessment exercise, done in conjunction with EU member states.
High-risk countries require a higher standard of screening for all cargo destined for the EU, but cargo is allowed in. The aim of the requirement is to enhance the capability of detecting prohibited articles such as explosive devices terrorists may conceal inside a consignment, said the officials.
The EU acknowledges the efforts undertaken by Bangladeshi authorities in improving the level of security applied in respect of air cargo, they added.