In a previous article discussing many of the terror attacks against the aviation industry over the last few years, we reached the conclusion that the threat to civil aviation is likely to become more serious.
Terror attacks against the aviation industry have multidimensional effects and vast influence on a country’s national strength and resilience. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was formed by the Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation to be a UN agency that would work towards reaching global consensus on international civil aviation standards and recommended practices. Nevertheless, the subsequent Annex 17 to the Chicago Convention was written in so general a fashion that it fails to implement regulations that would ensure that the methods used at most airports around the world provide a reasonable response to the threats. The explosive devices shrewdly concealed in the attacks during the 1980s would probably have not been discovered today by the detection systems used in a significant number of airports worldwide.
The high level of threat against the civil aviation industry stems from a combination of international terror organizations’ ability to obtain a variety of types of explosives (military, industrial, and improvised), their proficiency in using them, and their awareness of the limitations of the detection methods currently being used at airports.
Given my experience over the last few decades as director of the Israeli Transportation Ministry’s Security, Emergency Preparedness, and Cyber Division, this article will discuss the circumstances that have allowed so many countries to accept such an inadequate standard of performance in their airports’ security detection practices. In addition, the article will discuss the security shortfalls that have allowed attacks to be carried out successfully, time after time, on commercial airlines and the international efforts at combating the array of threats against the civil aviation industry.