The Cost of Airport Security Measures

By Hahn, Robert W. | Consumers' Research Magazine, July 1997 | Go to article overview

The Cost of Airport Security Measures


Hahn, Robert W., Consumers' Research Magazine


After nearly a year of investigation, and the recovery of more than 95% of the wreckage, we still do not know the exact cause of the tragic crash of TWA flight 800. The Clinton Administration quickly reacted to the incident by immediately implementing several heightened security measures and creating a White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. President Clinton asked this Commission to take a comprehensive look at the state of safety and security in aviation, and make recommendations for improvement. After just 45 days, the Commission issued an initial report with recommendations for ambitious changes to airport security. On February 12, the Commission issued a final report containing no less than 57 proposals aimed at improving aviation safety and security.

The initial recommendations alone will cost billions of dollars to implement and could cause extensive delays at the airports. President Clinton assures us that as a result of the initial security proposals, "not only will the American people feel safer, they will be safer." But is this really true? The White House has neither given a clear indication of the effectiveness of these measures in preventing terrorist acts, nor acknowledged the true cost of implementation.

Although the Commission states that "Americans should not have to choose between enhanced security and efficient and affordable air travel," there are difficult trade-offs in reducing risks. Each measure to improve safety and security can have an impact on the direct costs to travelers, delays, convenience, civil liberties, fatalities, and taxpayer costs.

Improving air safety and security is important, but we need to assess the cost and effectiveness of each measure before spending billions of taxpayers' and travelers' dollars on safety and security measures. Moreover, we need to confront the question of how safe is safe enough. The sad truth is that aviation fatalities cannot be eliminated unless we ban air travel, and that is simply too high a price to pay. So some level of risk must be deemed acceptable. This article provides a framework for thinking about these risk trade-offs by examining the costs and benefits of selected Commission recommendations.

White House Commission Recommendations. Recent airline disasters such as the TWA flight 800 crash sparked intense media coverage and public concern over the safety and security of the U.S. airline industry. A total of 380 people perished from these incidents in 1996, the highest number in ten years. It is important, however, not to make conclusions about the safety trends of aviation from year7to-year changes in accident rates. The fatal accident rate fluctuates greatly from year to year, but overall it has declined significantly over the past few decades. In fact, as the Commission notes, commercial aviation is the safest mode of transportation.

Nonetheless, the Commission has recommended 57 changes to commercial aviation. These proposals are far-reaching, covering four major areas of the aviation industry: aviation safety, air traffic control, airport security, and aviation disaster response. The discussion in this article will focus on the recommendations for enhancing security.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the report is the lack of a serious discussion of the costs and benefits of the recommendations. The Commission recommends that "cost alone should not be dispositive in deciding aviation safety and security rulemaking issues." The language is obscure but the message is clear: cost-benefit analysis should not play an important role in regulating air safety and security. The General Accounting Office (GAO) cautions that this proposal is a significant departure from the current rulemaking process and could lead to expensive policies that yield only small gains in safety.

Indeed, it would be difficult to justify the costs of extensive security measures given the relatively low risk of airline terrorism. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Cost of Airport Security Measures
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.