In recent years, airport security has been identified as a top priority. Inside the terminal, surveillance and security systems have been modified, enhanced, and strengthened. However, security weaknesses remain—most prevalently, at the perimeter of the airport. While any flier can easily see the changes that have made interior security more stringent, perimeter security is much less tightly controlled. There are a number of concerns that are specific to airport perimeter security, and ensuring that an airport is secure at the perimeter presents a variety of unique challenges.

Many airports have no more than a chain-link fence between the Air Operations Area (AOA) and the outside of the airport. Runways, taxiways, aircraft, and other assets protected only by that fence are incredibly vulnerable to anyone with reasonable climbing skills. It’s even easier to use a vehicle to break through a chain-link fence, as shown by several recent high profile perimeter breaches where civilians have taken their car for a joyride down an airport runway. Airports near water are less vulnerable from vehicles, but anyone with a boat can paddle up to the site and gain access to the AOA. Reports find that airport perimeter security is breached almost once every ten days.

Solutions for automated perimeter security can help to address this challenge. Today’s surveillance systems can incorporate analytics to monitor the fence line, detect breaches or potential breaches, filter out time-wasting false alarms from animals or blowing debris, and alert authorities quickly when action is needed. And because perimeter security can be integrated with the airport’s surveillance system, there is no need to train personnel on a new system or increase your personnel deployment to compensate for new security operations. These solutions are easily deployable, and they function in all environments and weather conditions.

Users have a variety of options to tailor the system to their perimeter security needs. If your terminal has several distinct restricted areas, your virtual perimeter can designate those areas individually. Automated alerts can be sent to localized security personnel to control incidents as they happen in real-time, and these intelligent alerts will only be sent out if a breach event is occurring—ensuring that personnel need not make trips to the perimeter every time a bird flies over your fence. Smart thermal imaging is easily deployed over a wide area, with instant alerts notifying personnel where the breach is occurring. By monitoring both sides of your fence, perimeter security helps ensure that you are able to respond to breaches even before they occur, preventing costly maintenance and downtime and helping to ensure the safety of planes and passengers on the tarmac and in the air. Because large flat areas that have planes flying over them will have obvious issues with wind and vibration, it makes sense to choose cameras with built-in image stabilization in order to prevent shaking from causing false alarms. Perimeter security solutions with options that are tailored to your airport perimeter will make it easier for you to prevent breaches and other issues.

Airport perimeter security presents a significant risk and may be overlooked as a security issue in favor of security inside the terminal itself. However, overlooking the perimeter can result in costly, time-consuming, and incredibly dangerous incursions onto the tarmac, into aircraft or into the terminal. Automated security solutions make controlling the perimeter much simpler and more cost-effective, helping to reduce risk throughout the entire airport.