Executive Security in Business Aviation: Part 1 – General Considerations

PT 3 M minute read

This business aviation blog post is part one in a series on executive security.

Executive security – personal protection for passengers and crew – is often required depending on the type of flight operation and destination. Additional considerations come into play when operating internationally. In most cases, foreign nationals will not be permitted to bring guns or weapons into a country for purposes of executive protection. Alternate protective arrangements are usually necessary, and this involves a certain degree of advance planning and logistics.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Executive security options

When traveling outside your home country there are many executive security options available. While an onboard bodyguard may travel with passengers, he/she will seldom be able to obtain permission to carry guns or weapons into international locations. However, aviation security providers will be able to organize additional required executive protection — both armed and unarmed — at international destinations. This can be either for 24/7 security coverage or security coverage only during certain portions of a trip, depending on the operator’s requirements. At times, you may opt to hire executive protection agents at foreign locations who’ll fly with you throughout a particular region. You may, for example, pick up a properly licensed executive security agent in South Africa who’ll stay with you during all of your stops in Africa.

2. Training and vetting executive security

Always make arrangements for executive security via reputable and vetted security providers. It’s not recommended to make ad hoc local security arrangements at unfamiliar destinations unless your security department is able to vet this in advance. Good security providers will ensure that executive protection personnel have all the security training needed – including defensive training, secure driving and anti-kidnapping techniques. They’ll source personnel locally who may have had military or police training and will have appropriate licenses, including weapons permits.

3. Options to consider

If you’re looking for both executive protection and secure local transport it’s best to hire separate individuals, so that each can concentrate on their one function. If cost is a consideration one person may handle both functions, but when they’re parking the vehicle, for example, they may not have full focus on other executive protection responsibilities.

4. Requesting executive protection

Executive protection requests usually originate from the dispatch or security division of your company. Requests should always be made well in advance of the day of operation. Best case scenario is to have the security company providing executive security personnel to travel to the requested destination in advance to evaluate any local security issues, confirm best routes between airports and hotels and review adequacy of hotel security.

5. Crew and executive protection

While most protection requests are for passengers we’re seeing more and more requests for crew protection – particularly at higher threat or volatile locations where security issues are more likely. At these locations it’s best to ensure that crew have the same levels of protection as passengers. This is because passengers may not be able to depart with the company aircraft if something happens to a crew member. In addition, best practice is to coordinate Plan B options with your security provider – in the event passengers and crew need to get out of a location quickly.

6. Additional Reading: Executive Security

Note: Links will be updated as articles are published.


Employing executive protection services while crew and passengers are in higher risk international destinations helps reduce risk and ensure the safety of all. It’s always best to arrange such security services in advance so proper arrangements can be set up.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance arranging your security need, contact me at traciecarwile@univ-wea.com.

Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers security specifics when making executive security arrangements.

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