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Cypriot airport security goes private

The Central Commission for Variations and Claims (CCVC) has moved to hand over the responsibility for security operations for Larnaca and Paphos airports to Hermes Airports.

Two issues involving the economic aspects of the agreement are still pending, however. Hermes demands that the government cover any additional expenses that may be incurred. At present, the security of the airports amounts to €10 million per year.

The CCVC claims that since each passenger is charged €1.50 as a security levy and that – so far – more than €10 million has been collected, the money should be put into a fund to cover any such issues.

With the new arrangements, 110 police officers that are stationed at airports for security reasons, will be released to serve in other departments, and at the same time saving the government €650,000 per year.

A further 370 police officers will remain at the airports to offer services of national security, and will also man passport control, patrol the perimeter and the interior of the airports, and airplane checks before take-off. Police will also be responsible for handling hijackings, bomb threats, handling cases of violent passengers and criminal activities.

Hermes is expected to ask for tenders shortly.

The private security company will have the responsibility of guarding areas of limited access, personal property, the safety of luggage, the control and safety of the loading of provisions, luggage, and mail as well as patrols within the airport alongside the police.

The security of airports undertaken by private companies is a European norm.

Of the 44 country members of the European organisation, only Cyprus’s airport security is undertaken by the police and Romania’s by the army, the remaining 42 countries, employ private security firms for airport security.

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