MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Although the threat of terrorism and unlawful intrusion have been key drivers for United States airport perimeter security, the market has become stagnant revenue-wise and is expected to decline, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan.
According to the market research firm’s “U.S. Airport Perimeter Security” analysis, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) invested an estimated $58 million in grants for the market through its Airport Improvement Programs (AIP) in 2012. However, analysts anticipate funding for airport perimeter security to decline through 2017 as new airport construction has reached capacity. Additionally, the perimeter control segment, consisting of fences and gates, is at an oversupplied point.
The report notes that because of the size and location of airports, many suppliers have failed to offer efficient, reliable and cost-effective integrated security systems, suitable to airports of all sizes. In addition, most tailored security systems designed for large airports still experience vulnerability gaps due to factors caused by human error.
For example, in August 2012 a man whose Jet Ski stopped working, swam ashore to the John F. Kennedy Int’l Airport in New York, which is on a waterfront. Despite new security measures that took effect post 9/11, the man was able to climb an eight-foot barbed-wire perimeter fence. He was also able to walk through the airport’s $100 million perimeter intrusion detection system and across two runways undetected until he reached an airline terminal.
For airport perimeter security technologies to be effective, those managing and operating them must be alert at all times, according to the study. Continued mishaps may prompt the advent of automated unmanned systems as a solution to eliminate human error.
“According to reports from the government, the Transportation Security Administration [TSA] had not conducted vulnerability assessments for 87% of the close to 450 U.S. airports regulated by TSA for security in 2009. The lack of these assessments creates uncertainty around the physical security effectiveness of those airports,” says John Hernandez, aerospace and defense senior industry analyst, Frost & Sullivan.