How Safe Are Our Skies? Assessing the Airlines' Response to Terrorism

How Safe Are Our Skies? Assessing the Airlines' Response to Terrorism

How Safe Are Our Skies? Assessing the Airlines' Response to Terrorism

How Safe Are Our Skies? Assessing the Airlines' Response to Terrorism

Synopsis

Wallis suggests that the failure to maximize U.S. domestic air security, which left air travelers vulnerable to attack, lay largely with the carriers themselves. He considers the Aviation and Transportation Security Act adopted by the U.S. Congress in the wake of September 11 and offers a modus operandi to the FAA.

Excerpt

“How safe is it to fly?” This question has been asked ever since Wilbur and Orville Wright first persuaded a heavier-than-air machine to leave the ground. Debates subsequent to the events that unfolded at Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903, were about safety. Today, the horrendous airborne attacks by al-Qa’eda terrorists on multiple targets in America on September 11th, 2001, have put issues of airline security uppermost in most people’s minds. Whether contemplating a journey on a commercial airliner or simply viewing one passing overhead, the question that might now be asked is, “How safe are our skies?”

This question is not new. in 1986, George Bush, then Ronald Reagan’s vice president, studied the subject of terrorism from the perspective of the United States. the first half of the decade had seen an escalation in savage acts perpetrated by terrorists against aviation and land-based installations all around the world. People from many different countries had been killed, but U.S. citizens appeared to be most frequently targeted. Aviation drew particular attention from terrorists. They saw U.S. flag carriers, primarily Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) and Trans World Airways (TWA), as easy surrogates for the country whose flag they carried on the tail of their aircraft. in 1985, twa had suffered a prolonged aircraft seizure at

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