|Serbia passes final evaluation ahead of US flights|
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a component of the United States Department of Homeland Security, has completed its evaluation of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. Its outcome will have a strong impact on whether Air Serbia will be granted a permit to launch flights to New York commencing this June. The TSA concluded that both the airport and the Serbian Civil Aviation Directorate have worked hard to put into place an effective aviation security system. The TSA determines whether foreign airports that provide service to the United States are maintaining and carrying out effective security measures. The Administration carried out its inspection of Belgrade Airport throughout last week. "Nonstop flights to the United States will be an excellent opportunity for Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport to position itself again in this part of Europe as an important transfer hub", the airport said in a statement issued yesterday. It added, "This is an excellent opportunity for the development of trade, economy and tourism for both Belgrade and Serbia". Following its positive assessment, Air Serbia is expected to be issued a final permit for its services to the United States in the coming days. The airline will officially commence sales for five weekly flights to New York next Thursday morning.
The TSA assessed the effectiveness of security measures at Belgrade Airport using select aviation security standards and recommended practices adopted by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation). ICAO standards and recommended practices address operational issues at an airport, such as ensuring that passengers and baggage are properly screened and that unauthorised individuals do not have access to restricted areas at the airport. ICAO standards and recommended practices also address non-operational issues, such as whether a foreign government, in this case Serbia, has implemented a national civil aviation security program for regulating security procedures at its airports and whether airport officials implementing security controls go through background investigations, are appropriately trained and are certified according to the government’s national civil aviation security program.
Along with conducting an airport assessment, the same TSA inspection team also conducted an inspection of Air Serbia to ensure that the carrier is in compliance with TSA security requirements. TSA inspectors examined compliance with applicable security requirements, including TSA-approved security programs, emergency amendments to the security programs and security directives. During the inspection, inspectors reviewed applicable security manuals, procedures and records. Furthermore, they interviewed the carrier's station personnel and observed employees processing passengers on at least one flight, from passenger check-in until the flight departed the gate, to ensure that the it is in compliance with applicable requirements.