An Overview of Airline Hijacking

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Introduction Hijacking a plane provides criminals with a perfect opportunity to advance their interests using passengers in the hijacked aircraft as their bargaining chips. Indeed, in the past, criminal elements have successfully secured the release of prisoners using this very approach. However, isolated instances of hijackings in the recent past clearly indicate that aircraft hijackers are becoming more daring, brazen, and creative. This text concerns itself with the history of airline hijackings. Airline Hijackings: An Overview Aircraft hijacking according to Ciottone (2006) “is defined as the armed takeover of an aircraft.” According to the author, most of the hijackings that took place before the September 11 terror attacks mostly used the unfortunate passengers of a hijacked plane as hostages and the hijacked aircraft as a means of transportation. However, as I have already pointed out in the introductory section, this trend seems to be changing. Indeed, the September terror attacks clearly demonstrated that planes could easily be used as ‘guided missiles’ to bring about widespread destruction. According to Holanda (2009), during “the formative years of passenger flight…the concept of hijacking commercial airliners had not yet occurred to anyone.” As the author further points out, most people viewed airline hijacking as an undertaking full of unnecessary risks. In that regard, most people were convinced that such a high level of risk could not justify the rewards. All this started to change in the 1960s. It is however important to note that although the 1960s saw a sustained increase in cases of hijackings, several other successful aircraft takeover attempts had been made before. The fo... ... middle of paper ... ...ngs have become bolder, more daring, and brazen. The driving force behind such hijackings is also changing rapidly. Unlike in the early 1960s when most hijackings were used as an extortion tool, terrorists are increasingly viewing airplane hijackings as a path to martyrdom. This presents more complicated challenges for aircraft and airport security officials. Works Cited Ciottone, G.C. (2006). Disaster Medicine (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier. Fay, J. (1993). Encyclopedia of Security Management: Techniques & Technology. Burlington, MA: Elsevier. Holanda, R. (2009). A History of Aviation Safety: Featuring the U.S. Airline System. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. Kushner, H.W. (2002). Encyclopedia of Terrorism. California: SAGE. Williams, C. & Waltrip, S. (2004). Aircrew Security: A Practical Guide. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company.

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