Vietnam’s armed flight security officers to come from police ministry

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security will provide local aviation firms with in-flight security officers who will be armed with weapons, said the leader of the country’s civil aviation sector.

Lai Xuan Thanh, head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), made the statement while talking to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper about a new rule that aviation security officers on flights operated by Vietnamese carriers will be equipped with weapons and support tools for use when necessary.

This new regulation is included in Decree 92/2015 issued by the government on October 13, 2015 regarding civil aviation security, which aims to strengthen flight safety.

Such in-flight security officers are civil servants who are tasked with and are trained to ensure flight safety and to tackle airborne terrorists, Thanh said.

For that reason, such officers will not be drawn from airports’ existing security forces, but from the Ministry of Public Security, the official said.

vietnam’s armed flight security officers to come from police ministry hinh 0
Two security officers are pictured operating the security monitoring system at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City.
Photo: Tuoi Tre

Under Article 11 of the decree, in-flight security officers are placed under the general control of the pilot in command of a flight. 

In case of any intervention occurring on flights, these officers will take action to ensure flight safety in accordance with a specific regulation to be promulgated by the ministry.

Immediately after being informed of flight safety incidents, carriers must report them to the relevant airport authorities and airport emergency rescue units so that necessary measures can be taken to ensure flight security, according to the regulation.

Thanh also said that the use of armed security officers on flights is one of the agreements reached by the CAAV and the US Federal Aviation Administration in relation to launching direct flights between the two countries in the future. 

Meanwhile, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has yet to officially decide on whether such aviation security officers are needed to be present on flights, Thanh said.

The official added that the US’s current armed in-flight security force was re-established following the suicide attacks by al-Qaeda, a terrorism organization, on many targets in the US on September 11, 2001.

On that day, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners and crashed the planes into their targets, including the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, killing themselves and nearly 3,000 people in the process.