Since executive protection is a diverse profession, it contains several facets that aren’t evident at first. Ground handling is one of them, although it is usually related to aviation.
Experts say this notion entails taking care of the client from the moment they enter a plane, until the second they leave it as soon as they go back home. Ground handling also includes the detailed processes of walking the clients through what they should do while on the plane and at the airport.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to ensure maximum safety for the client, the EP team, and accompanying staff.
Other established experts prefer to define ground handling as personal protection for the passengers and crew. No matter the explanation, it’s certainly a subject that requires any executive protection agent’s attention, whether unseasoned or experienced.
An important note: Ground handling in executive protection doesn’t require EP agents to understand how a plane works. Instead, they need to be familiar with the procedures and processes surrounding landing and takeoff.
The Origins and Essentials
Before bodyguards can became executive protection agents, they need to work harder to acquire job skills and know-how. It didn’t take too much training and knowledge to become a bodyguard.
On the other hand, it’s different with EP, since this profession requires knowledge that isn’t as accessible. This is where ground handling comes in. It includes higher risk destinations and gun or weapon considerations for use in foreign countries.
Depending on the type of flight operation and destination, executive protection is necessary for both crew and passengers. When you, as the client, travel internationally, you need to consider additional aspects.
For the most part, foreign countries won’t allow your agents to bring guns for EP purposes. And last but not least, a certain degree of advanced logistics and planning is quite important. So bear that in mind before hiring an EP company.
As mentioned before, executive protection agents may not be allowed to carry weapons on board or into a foreign country. It depends on the foreign authorities if they agree to that. Here’s where hand-to-hand combat skills come into play in case an emergency arises.
EP professionals shouldn’t only focus on firearms to ensure the protection of the crew and passengers. Moreover, they must dedicate resources and time to obtain other skills, since guns should be their last resort. That’s another point to consider when choosing who will protect you as the principal.
Aviation security providers may also organize additional executive protection based on the passengers’ request or risk assessments. This protection can be both armed and unarmed and may comprise 24/7 security coverage or only certain parts of a trip. Ultimately, it depends on the operator’s requirements.
Even here, there is a decent solution to the issue. Rather than hire EP agents in your home country, you can consider getting someone from the destination nation. Let’s say you are traveling through south-east Asia. Perhaps you could hire an executive protection agent from that region to accompany you for your trips through that part of the world.
Other Important Considerations for Principals
Apart from the considerations above, you as the principal or your assistants should take good care when vetting for your executive security. This means choosing the right and established companies you can count on.
You wouldn’t get on a plane if you knew it was malfunctioning. The same goes for your executive protection detail. You need to hold them in high esteem to trust them with your life and that of your family, staff, and other passengers.
Experts never recommend taking ad hoc local security arrangements at destinations your staff isn’t familiar with. Of course, exceptions can be made if your security department or assistants can vet them in advance. So, what should you look for when searching for the right security providers in your destination country? We made a list of the three essential traits your security staff needs to possess:
- Secure driving capabilities,
- Anti-kidnapping techniques, and,
- Defensive skills.
Remember to have your team do its due diligence and see if they have appropriate licenses, weapons permits, military or police training.
All in all, you and your team members should focus on picking the EP agents or companies who won’t have to split responsibilities. For instance, having one staff member both drive you and protect you on the street.
Make sure that different persons are covering various aspects of your safety. One person should be in charge of opening your doors and walking you through the crowd. Another person would have the responsibility to drive the car you’re in. A third should carry any equipment necessary for emergencies. And so on.
One person equals one significant commitment during ground handling.
In dangerous locations where security issues are more likely, the team protecting you should also cover the crew. It is best to ensure that crew members have equivalent levels of protection as passengers. This is because passengers may not be able to take off with the company plane if something happens to a crew member. The best practices necessitate coordinating Plan B options with the security provider.
On the other hand, somebody might tempt you to think about getting just any transport or even a taxi. That is potentially risky because you can never know if somebody is monitoring you or wanting to kidnap or hurt you. Look for vetted professional security drivers working with safety checked vehicles.
Generally, when you use secure ground transportation, you reduce the potential exposure to hazards and risks during business travel. Reliable transportation services on the ground combine local knowledge and intelligence with vetted personnel to deliver a stable environment.
And remember that not everybody out there is coming to get you, even if you are in a foreign country. There are still ordinary, non-criminal incidents occurring, like road traffic accidents and vehicle failure. So brace yourself for that and don’t interpret all surprises as dangerous to you or your environment.
Why? Because they are just regular everyday events that could happen anywhere, anytime.
The world can be a pretty unsafe place, but you shouldn’t live with constant anxiety and fear. After all, that’s what you’ve got your executive protection team.