We've been protecting aviation for over 40 years.
To celebrate this, we produced a book chronicling our organisational milestones.
Celebrating 40 Years of Aviation Security [PDF 7.4 MB]
In 1970 and 1971 the Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) discussed the situation concerning prevailing acts of unlawful interference in civil aviation for political or criminal reasons and resolved that the organisation adopt international standards and recommended practices to counter such acts. In 1974 the ICAO Council adopted Annex 17 (Security) to the Convention on International Civil Aviation. (The Annex was originally titled Security – Safeguarding International Civil Aviation against Acts of Unlawful Interference).
The requirements of Annex 17 from its inception included the screening of passengers and cabin baggage for weapons, and the patrolling of (operational) security areas, and also ensuring authorised and suitably trained officers were readily available for deployment at airports to assist in dealing with suspected or actual breaches of aviation security.
As a Contracting State to the Convention, New Zealand was obliged to make arrangements for aviation security measures consistent with the new Annex.
There were however, no legislative provisions at that time enabling Government provision, so interim measures were arranged with the international airports. These arrangements involved aviation security measures being performed by staff employed by the international airports, but under the direct control of Ministry of Transport personnel.
The current Aviation Security Service (Avsec) was established from this staff in 1977. Its establishment directly reflected requirements on contracting States in ICAO's 1974 Annex 17. These included the screening of passengers and cabin baggage and the patrolling of security areas, and also ensuring authorised and suitably trained officers were readily available for deployment at airports to assist in dealing with suspected or actual breaches of aviation security.
In 1977 the Government decided that:
In 1989 aviation security operations were organisationally separated from the regulatory function. The General Manager of Avsec was appointed in August 1993 following devolution from the Ministry of Transport.