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Brussels diamond heist highlights security holes

“The bad guys only have to be right once, but we in the industry and the airport-planning environment have to rewrite all the time,” he said. “It clearly points to a need for more work to be done here.”

The problem is bigger than the $50 million worth of diamonds stolen from the Brussels Airport, Motevalli said. Though it is expensive to enhance security measures, there is also the potential cost of human life if there is a violent attack.

Fried said the aviation industry will learn from the heist in Brussels.

“I think changes will be made pretty quickly – not only in Brussels, by the way,” he said. “We learn as we go, and I think that this will heighten security elsewhere as well.”

But Motevalli doesn’t feel as sure, he said.

“It’s driven a lot by public perception of things. The public perception of robbery like this is maybe more that it sounds like a movie, and it generates some excitement and so on,” he said. “Less people realize that this has a very relevant and acute security concern, which would impact people’s security, passenger safety. That maybe would then move airports to do something.”

Each airport requires a different solution, and solutions don’t always come cheaply, Motevalli said.

When each airline and airport was asked if the diamond heist in Brussels changed their minds about their security, the answer was always the same: no.

“We don’t have a specific concern based upon what happened,” Greaud said. “If we felt we had some vulnerability, then we would change what we do.”

Motevalli said he takes the security breaches that have happened over the years – and not just in the air cargo industry – as signs.

“Luckily, these are all warnings that are happening without much cost in terms of lives lost or whether accidents or actual attacks happening,” he said. “We’ve got to take good notice of those.”