Effective Airline Security Measures Are Overdue
As far back as 1955, terrorist threats against the airline industry have jeopardized the safety and security of airline passengers. This paper chronologically describes some of the events that caused preventive measures to be proposed and in fewer cases implemented. The fact that there is a terrorist threat against our nation’s airline industry has not changed, but the methods that these radicals employ to bring harm to travelers has grown much more sophisticated. The techniques in use by the government and the airline industry to prevent a catastrophic event have not kept pace. As the events of September 11th unfolded, it became obvious that the havoc a well-planned terrorist attack could wreak on a nation, or even the world had been taken to a new level. Nothing these terrorists did was novel, yet the idea of a well-coordinated attack using commercial aircraft as weapons of destruction was completely new. Now, as the images of hijacked airplanes plowing into the World Trade Center are still fresh in our minds, we must take full advantage of the emotion and will of the people as well as technology to bring effective airline security measures in line with current and future threats.
Effective Airline Security Measures Are Overdue.
How long does it take the United States to counter a threat to commercial aviation? In the case of a bomb stowed in luggage in the belly of an airliner, the answer is nearly half a century…and counting. In 1955, a man placed a bomb in his mother's suitcase and blew up a United Airlines flight over Colorado (Rohrlich 2001). Although not recognized at the time, this was the beginning of a new form of terrorism, a new crisis for our nation to face. This crisis was crystallized on March 9, 1972, as a jetliner took off from JFK bound for Los Angeles. Moments into the flight, an anonymous caller stated that there was a bomb on board that flight. The plane immediately returned to JFK and passengers were evacuated. A bomb-sniffing dog detected an explosives device just 12 minutes before it was set to detonate (Federal Aviation Administration, 2001). Seven months later, the Department of Transportation created the K-9 Explosives Detection Team Program (Federal Aviation Administration, 2001). This was the first widespread measure taken to combat the threat of blowing up commercial a...
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... opposed to making the humans look at all luggage and each passenger individually.
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