Threats in the Civil Aviation Industry
Threats in the Civil Aviation Industry
The September 11, 2001 attacks on the world trade centre have opened the eyes of the people, especially the government the huge threats against the Civil Aviation Industry. Nowadays, the aviation transportation system, not just in the United States but the whole world is at risk of these threats, whether it would be an improvised explosive device, high jacking, airplane sabotage, suicide and extortion. A number of threats and events in the aviation industry had happened over the past years that threaten and hurt many civilians. In order to counter the threats in the aviation industry, measures have been employed by the government in airport facilities worldwide. With the rapid advancement in technology, airport securities have been using these devices in preventing events in the aviation industry that pose a great threat among civilians. Technology is clearly one of the most useful tools in countering these terror attacks. Aside from technology, intelligence plays a major role in preventing the threats. Intelligence reports have proven to be effective in identifying the possible threats, like in the case of the planned bomb attacks in airplanes that are flying from the airport in the United Kingdom to the United States of America.
This paper gives discussion on the different forms of threats that the aviation industry is facing. Moreover, it also provides a discussion on intelligence and technology as a measure in responding and preventing these threats.
There are various threats that pose a grave danger in the Aviation Industry, gone are the days wherein civilians experience loose security in which they could go around the airport without feeling threatened. After the 911 bombings and the bomb threat in Heathrow airport, every government have imposed strict rules and measures to counter the threats. The three most common types of threats in the aviation industry are the improvised explosive devices, high jacking, and airplane sabotage.
Improvised Explosive Devices
The improvised explosive device (IED) is an established name for explosive devices that are usually utilised in unconventional warfare by guerrillas (2006). The IED is a bomb that is constructed by combining diverse parts in an improvised manner in which it integrates destructive, lethal and deadly chemicals that are created to destroy and disable civilians and vehicles; it may combine commercially-sourced explosives and home-made explosives.
Moreover, Wikipedia discussed that an IED is usually composed of an explosive charge, detonator, and an initiation system. Moreover, in some instances an IED may also consist of metal objects like nails, IED are initiated by different techniques such as through remote controls, cell phones, magnets and wires.
According to the Transportation Security Administration or TSA (2007), over the past decade terrorists have utilised improvised explosive devices as their preferred tactic in spreading terror. Examples of attacks that used IEDs are the 1993 bombing in the World Trade Centre, 1995 bombing on the Federal Building in Oklahoma, attacks on the East African Embassies on 1998, the 2000 attack on the USS Cole and the 911 attacks in New York. In August 10, 2006, the United Kingdom intelligence has detected the plan of extremists in engaging in a plot wherein multiple passenger airlines that will fly from the United Kingdom to the United States will be destroyed. According to TSA, IEDs can be constructed in a quick manner, and often times the parts that were used are materials that solely appear to be harmless, like chemicals, batteries, and fireworks.
In addition, TSA stated that improvised explosive devices are hard to determine because independent components are brought in the transportation system such as buses and aircrafts by different individuals and then inside the system these are assembled fast and then set off bomb. Aside from the fact that extremists bring the parts separately inside the transportation system, a number of IEDs nowadays are relatively small in size and can be easily kept in baggage such as bottles of perfumes and lotions.
The extremists and terrorists also have the access in technology, thus a number of them constantly find ways in developing new explosive devices that cannot be easily detected by traditional security and devices. In order to counter those explosive devices and upcoming IEDs, various intelligence measures and technologies are created and currently being developed by the government, as well as, the private sectors.
According to Wikipedia, military forces and civilians from all over the world have created Render Safe Procedures in handling IEDs. Often times the Render Safe Procedures are developed due to death and injuries caused by IEDs, however most of the RSPs are created due to intelligence of the military.
In the United States in order to prevent bombing attacks, they created a multiple security layers that will pre-empt or discontinue the planned attack. The TSA (2007) stated the security layers in the airports of the United States, it consists of the following:
I. Reservation Process
CAPPS or Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-screening System
II. Airport Security
Bomb Sniffing Dogs
Law Enforcement Officers
Biological and Chemical Detectors
Closed Circuit TV
III. Security Checkpoint
Screening Passengers through Observation Techniques
Boarding Pass Check
Carry-on Baggage Screening
Checked Baggage Screening
Secondary Screening Individuals
IV. Airplane Security
Federal Flight Deck Officers
Hardened Cockpit Doors
Federal Air Marshal Service
Trained Flight Crews
The security layer that is being imposed in the United States is one way of preventing the bomb attacks and threats. It is also provides intelligence on the possible extremists and terrorist on its first step which is the CAPPS. Other countries started to emulate these steps in order to prevent a huge catastrophe like the 911 bombings. Apart from the intelligence, technology is also a relevant aspect in responding efficiently in bomb threats and attacks.
Technology plays an important role in an efficient response to bomb threats and attacks. Intelligence and Technology work hand in hand to address these issues and concerns. Like in the case of CAPPS, with the advance technology during booking of ticket, the intelligence can identify if an individual is in the most wanted list or not through technology and computers. The metal detectors and biological detectors are also technologies that aid in the intelligence. During the screening of the baggage, technology is also utilised to determine if an individual or group of individuals are probable terrorists.
Technology is a useful tool, and it plays an important part in addressing the solution to the problems of terrorism, especially in the aviation industry. However, the military and civilians must not fully rely on technology and intelligence. Every one must be vigilant and aware of its surroundings, if a suspicious item or person is observed report it to the authorities.
Aircraft high jacking
Aircraft high jacking is the taking-over of an individual and group that is often times armed with weapons and improvised explosive devices. High jacking is usually committed in order to obtain something or take the passengers as hostages for ransom. However, after the 911 attacks, there is another view on high jacking which is part of a terror plot. Prior to 911, high jacking incidents are often done to get something from the government or for the benefit of the high jackers. After the post 911 incidents high jacking is never viewed the same again.
Due to that, counter measures and intelligence has been developed constantly in order to address this particular issue. High jacking and improvised explosive device can be utilised by terrorists at the same time. Like in the case of 911, the terrorists high jacked the plane and used it as an improvised explosive device. In the 911 incidents, the high jackers did not bring any explosive materials or armed devices, instead they utilised things that can be seen in the aircraft such as utensils used by the passengers in the aircraft. Therefore intelligence plays a huge part in high jacking, through the CAPPS and additional new technologies, intelligence officials can identify possible hostage takers and high jackers. However, information that are obtained from CAPPS cannot be an assurance because most high jackers act and move like a typical passenger which makes it difficult to identify if one is a high jacker or not. In most cases, high jacking incidents are often done for personal reasons, like in the recent high jacking incident wherein the Turkish Airlines Flight 1476, flying from Tirana to Istanbul was high jacked because the high jacker only wanted to talk to the Pope, he wasn’t armed and also he looks like a usual passenger.
Intelligence could only be useful in the case of high jacking if the persons that will be involved are being followed and are under surveillance for a long-time just like in the failed bomb attack in two aircrafts in London. Technology could also be useful, especially the boarding pass check, identification check and close circuit TV, in this way possible high jackers are determined through their suspicious moves and records from the intelligence.
Just like in Improvised explosive devices, technology and intelligence is not only to aspects that could aid in the efficiency of identification and arrest of probable high jackers. The passengers must also be aware and vigilant with its surroundings; suspicious individuals must be reported to the local officials. High jackers look and act like normal people getting on inside the plane, all passengers and especially the flight crew members must be aware with the signs if a passenger is probably a high jacker.
According to (2006), extortion is a criminal offence in which an individual or group of individuals get money or property through threatening someone or the company. In the case of airlines, extortion attempts also happens wherein individual calls the head office of an airline and tells that he planted a bomb and it will explode if he will not be paid. Aside from bombs, other threatening calls would be high jacking.
One of the most popular case of extortion in an airline happened in May 26, 1971 in Qantas Airlines. According to Wikipedia (2006) Qantas got a call from a person named Mr. Brown, he said that there was a bomb in one of their aircrafts bound for Hong Kong and he demanded $500,000 in unmarked $20 bills. The management of Qantas treated the incident seriously when Mr. Brown pointed the police to a locker inside the airport wherein there is a bomb. Arrangements were made; after Mr. Brown has obtained the money he called again the office stating that it was only a hoax. He was arrested, and the person named Mr. Brown is actually Peter Macari.
During the 1970s the technology and surveillance in the aviation industry is not as tough and strict as it is today. Therefore instances like what happened in Qantas Airlines could be easily done by any individual. But nowadays, because of the new technologies and advance surveillance systems, extortionists can be easily identified and detected. In technology, with the development of caller ids, a caller can easily be located and identified, aside from that there are advanced and sophisticated software that can locate and detect individuals. In the intelligence, after 911 aviation industry, as well as, the government has spend a great amount of effort and money in order to detect the individuals that are real threats, and also individuals that are just playing a joke with the airline companies. Aside from the advance technology and intelligence, governments of different countries have passed tougher laws regarding extortion and the fact that airline companies are often advised not to give out money to individuals who calls and informs that there is a bomb planted in the plane, but first identify the caller and work closely with the police officers.
The aviation industry is a huge market, however it also faces a number of issues and concerns, after the 911 attacks the industry have employed more advanced technology and intelligence, added to the fact that airports have tougher securities. Just like, mentioned earlier technology and intelligence are only two of the important aspects in responding to threats efficiently, the passengers, government and the aviation industry must work hand in hand in order to prevent a disaster like 911 from happening.
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