In April 2020, two-thirds of commercial planes were grounded worldwide, and passenger traffic was down 90% compared to the same period in 2019. The COVID-19 crisis brought a sudden halt to the aviation industry, and flights and passenger numbers are only recently beginning to rally.
As operations restart, airlines and airports are facing a range of challenges, from pilots having a lack of recent experience to infestations of insects. However, one of the primary concerns facing airports currently is that of security.
With so many planes still grounded, the threat of vandalism, mischief and theft is at an all-time high. In this post, we’ll look at the best types of airport fencing to maximise perimeter security.
What type of fencing is recommended for airport perimeters?
In the Recommended Security Guidelines for Airport Planning, Design and Construction manual, published in 2011 by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), it is recommended that chain link fencing is the most cost-effective solution when deterrence, rather than prevention of a forced security breach, is the main objective.
However, at CLD Fencing, we strongly disagree with this. Since it’s now widely known how easy it is to cut through chain-link fencing, it’s no longer even effective as a deterrent, much less as a preventative security measure.
How easy is it to cut through chain link airport fencing?
In 2017, UK based organisation Building Research Establishment (BRE) carried out a series of live security tests at the International Fire and Security Exhibition and Conference (IFSEC) on various types of fencing. They were assessed against LPS 1175, which is the world standard used to evaluate the resistance to unauthorised, forced access offered by physical security products.
They tested chain link fences that were manufactured and installed to BS 1722-10. These are the exact same chain-link perimeter fencing systems that are recommended for use at airports worldwide. In this live security test, an entry area large enough for a person to fit through was created in just 15.92 seconds.
To make a direct comparison, to cut through just a single wire on a profiled rigid weld mesh panel system rated to LPS1175 SR1 took a whole seven seconds in the live tests. This is a 981.25% increase in the time taken to cut through a single wire using standard wire cutters.
World-class airport fencing systems
Once an intruder has forced their way through the airport fencing, there’s a strong likelihood of losing them on a busy airfield. But the massive increase in time taken to force entry through profiled mesh airport fencing gives security staff time to plan their response.
With a three-minute delay when using our Securus AC™ SR2 fencing system (manufactured to LPS1175 SR2) and a five-minute delay caused by our Securus S3 fencing system (manufactured to LPS 1175 C5 SR3), manned patrols can be deployed to the access point before entry is gained.
At CLD Fencing, we believe that prevention is far more important than deterrence when airport security is at stake. As such, all our airport fencing systems are manufactured and installed to world-class standards.
Preventing vehicular attacks with airport fencing
Vehicular attacks on airport fencing are a major concern to airports. Some of these attacks are by individuals who are intoxicated or delusional, whilst others are terror-related. In either case, if a vehicle breaches the airport fencing, this presents a major security risk and a danger to staff, passengers and assets.
It’s a good idea to mount airport perimeter fencing on top of a crash-rated concrete barrier, to prevent vehicles from simply forcing their way through the fence.
Can’t get under it, can’t get over it…
If there is no concrete barrier, airport fencing should be buried in the ground to prevent anyone from attempting to burrow under it, with the surrounding trench filled with concrete to create a below-ground barrier.
Smaller apertures in our profiled mesh airport fencing remove the ability to scale the fence, as there are fewer potential hand and footholds.
It’s highly unlikely, but should anyone manage to climb to the top of the fence, a security topping system is invaluable.
For years, airports have used barbed wire as a final barrier to intruders, but contrary to what you might think, when used alone it can actually offer a hand-hold system and even be used to stand on.
Adding razor coil tape inside the Y-crank of the barbed wire, or alternatively, using a T-crank system with 90-degree returns, means there is a much higher risk of clothing and skin snagging. Both systems prevent the barbed wire from being used as a foothold, as the coil positioning causes the wire to become wrapped around the foot.
The extra time it would take to scale a profiled rigid weld mesh panel fence with one of these security toppers would allow considerably more time for airport security to detect and respond to an attempted perimeter breach.
Prevent major security incidents with profiled mesh airport fencing
Sadly, we live in a world where attempted security breaches are commonplace. It’s vital that we increase airport security in line with requirements and review perimeter security products regularly.
The cost of new airport fencing can be off-putting, but the security of staff and passengers is worth far more. Ask yourself not which airport fencing system is cheapest, but which will provide the greatest delay to entry, and what the cost would be if an intruder gained access.
Just one major airport security incident can cause loss of life and assets, with the world questioning how it was ever ‘allowed to happen’. Don’t allow it! Talk to CLD Fencing today about investing in physical airport perimeter protection that is proactive at preventing intruders.