Sunday, November 8, 2015


Unvetted ground crews
Threaten air passengers


AT THE RISK OF REPEATING MYSELF . . . AGAIN, getting an explosive device on board an airplane is easily accomplished.

All it takes is a disgruntled employee and some impetus - such as money - or an employee with an agenda - such as a Daesh (a/k/a ISIL/ISIS) - to kill people for pleasure and political gain.

There are a number of likely candidates that have unfettered access to commercial passenger and cargo planes. Alphabetically:

    Catering crews Cleaning crews
    Luggage handlers
    Refueling crews
In fact, anyone who can approach an aircraft and look like they have reason to be where they are.

In some airports, soldiers and police guarding the plane might be suspect.

All it takes is one person to slaughter 224 people on Oct. 31, 2015; 224 people returning home on an 18-year-old Airbus A321-231 after a visit to Sharm el Sheikh in the Egyptian Sinai.

No need for on-board highjackers a la the four aircraft on 9-11-2001, no need to rig a bomb in an innocent looking device such as the radio a terrorist's throw-away girlfriend carried aboard Pan Am flight 103 that crashed over Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December 1988.

No need, even, for a fuel "mishap" such as the one that resulted in a fire on the Caracas-bound Dynamic International Airways' Flight 405 a Boeing 767-269ER on a taxiway at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (in Dania Beach FL) on October 30, 2015.

The NTSB found that the main fuel supply line coupling assembly had disconnected in the wing-to-engine strut above and behind the left engine. The NTSB did not suspect terrorism.

THERE ARE WAYS TO PROTECT aircraft from terrorists, and there is one - just one - airline that has proven its ability to protect ifs fleet and the people - passengers and crews - that fly those plane.

When the planes are being prepared for flights, airline security personnel are present around the aircraft and inside the aircraft.

Ground personnel and vendor personnel on vetted by the airline's security personnel before they can approach the plane - and still these "vetted" vendors' personnel are watched. It's not impossible to get an explosive on board, but it would be exceedingly difficult to do so.

There remains the possibility that terrorists armed with easily purchased missiles from any number of sources, could be fired at the plane while it is on the ground or during take-off or landing. The planes of this one company have on-board systems to detect incoming missiles and to prevent the missile from hitting the aircraft. So far the system has proven successful.

Bringing down a commercial aircraft is not impossible, but with a little risk management thinking, the threat can be mitigated almost out of existence.

But the airlines don't want to hear it. In the U.S., proving Homeland Security's shortcomings gets people arrested - while nothing is done to close the gap in security procedures.

Until airlines DO "get serious" about security, more disasters such as Metrojet 9268 will continue and people will continue to die.

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