World Cup watchSouth Africa holds a large aviation security drill in advance of the World Cup

Published 23 April 2010

In advance of the June-July 2010 World Cup tournament, South Africa this weekend is conducting a comprehensive aviation security drill; the exercise will resemble security precautions which will be put in place during the soccer event, which begins 11 June; an expansive security envelope will be established around the stadiums where the games are played, and other air travel restriction will go into place; the drill this weekend will examine how the SA security forces respond to various violations of these security rules

South Africa’s skies will be to checked for security in advance of the FIFA 2010 World Cup. The security drill begins today, security authorities said. “It will also test the ability of the various departments involved in air space security to work in an integrated manner throughout the country as well as the integration of systems across departments,” said National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) spokeswoman Brigadier Sally de Beer.

The operation would end on Monday, she said in a statement.

Times Live quotes De Beer to say that Shield VI would also “load test” systems in place to ensure that equipment and personnel were capable of dealing with high volumes when managing airspace and that existing operating procedures were adequate.

“In order to adequately safeguard any major event, the security forces have to ensure that comprehensive law enforcement plans are in place to cover any eventuality on land, at sea, in the rail environment and in the air,” said De Beer.

“To this end, it is necessary during certain periods to temporarily restrict air space. In the case of the FIFA 2010 World Cup, this would include the air space over the match venues, the stadiums,” she said.

NATJOINTS consists of the police, the SA Air Force, the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), and the intelligence coordinating committee, which consists of various intelligence agencies’ representatives, and the transport and disaster management department’s air traffic navigation services.

De Beer said the government had given FIFA “certain” security-related guarantees for the duration of the World Cup. She said Shield VI will run concurrently with Operation Prosper, a similar sea borderline patrol to secure the maritime environment.

SACAA has already issued an aeronautical information publication restricting, but not banning flights within fifty nautical miles of certain areas, including over World Cup stadiums in all host cities.

With the exception of scheduled or state flights, all other aircraft wishing to enter into the stipulated airspace between 23 and 26 April had to observe this and other restrictions, De Beer said. These included applying for permission for flights at least twenty-four hours in advance, submitting flight plans and being subjected to a vetting process.

“Any aircraft observed entering the temporarily restricted airspace without the prescribed authority will be subjected to interception and interrogation, as well as possibly being forced to land at an identified air field,” she said.

During the operation, the SAAF will deployed the A109 (Agusta) and Oryx helicopters, the PC7 Pilatus and Hawk and Gripen fighters.