Term Paper: Aviation Safety Aviation Security

Pages: 8 (2552 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] In this way, the travelling public would know that the federal government was taking airline safety in America seriously (New York Times, 2001).

Some of these other safety and security measures would grant funds to airlines so that they may build up stronger cockpit doors and transponders that couldn't be deactivated from the cockpit. Grants would also be obtainable for the payment of video monitors in the cockpit so that the pilot may be alert if there is trouble in the cabin; arming pilots; increasing the level of air marshals; federalizing the security screening process; and, not too far in future, allowing air traffic controllers to land distressed planes by remote access (New York Times, 2001).

According to Wassink (2003), safety and security measures must focus on preventing external weapons from being employed against or being introduced into the aircraft, in addition to minimizing damage and destruction if such an attack proved successful. Future air travel will remain reliant on electronic aids to navigation, including both ground-based systems and global positioning systems. Wassink also stated that aircraft flight control systems will become more reliant on electronic programming and automatic operations to improve efficiency and reduce aircrew workload.

Hahn (1997) also suggested that "improving air safety and security are important, but we need to assess the cost and effectiveness of each measure before we spend billions of taxpayers and travellers money on safety and security measures" (p. 793). 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" (Levin, 2002, p. 793).

Prevention and Protection

Two broad options exist for defining safety and security measures. According to Wassink and Cherry (2003), these measures can be designed to prevent an attack against the aircraft, aircrew, and passengers, or they can be designed to protect the aircraft, aircrew, and passengers by minimizing the effects of such an attack. Wassink and Cherry also pointed out that enhanced safety and security results from an appropriate combination of preventive and protective measures. One significant challenge is to find the most cost effective balance between multiple safety and security options. Wassink and Cherry thought that this choice would involve substantial difficulties because the implementation of any measure will have both direct and indirect costs. Indirect costs, such as the impact that increased security delays might have on travel demand, can only be estimated. Conversely, increased security, even with slightly longer delays, might boost traveller confidence and ultimately increase revenue and profit. An additional challenge arises from the need to analyze the potential consequences of implementing preventive and protective measures to ensure that they do not lead to decreased air travel safety or present or create additional vulnerabilities that might be exploited by malicious persons.

Wassink and Cherry (2003) considered that the primary purpose of preventive measures is to deny malicious individuals the ability to introduce weapons into the aircraft. Generally, these persons want to introduce weapons into an aircraft for one of two reasons: the weapons may be designed to destroy the aircraft and persons on board or they may be used to take over the aircraft or intimidate the aircrew into changing the destination. Examples of preventive measures include controlling aircraft access, passenger screening, and baggage matching; widening the airport security perimeter; and protecting aircraft control and navigation systems.

Wassink and Cherry (2003) considered that the primary purpose of protective measures is to ensure that any failure of preventive measures does not allow weapons to be introduced into the aircraft. Protective measures should seek to reduce aircraft damage, limit bodily harm to passengers, and preclude the airplane's being flown to somewhere other than its intended point of landing either by the aircrew under duress or by malicious persons. Examples of protective measures include hardened cockpit doors, arming pilots, increased use of sky marshals, and video monitoring systems.

"There's so many unknowns," says Dave Barger, President of JetBlue Airlines (as cited in Levin, 2002, p. 3). "I don't think the legislation has really been thought out" (p. 3). Aviation safety advocates say giving pilots the added responsibility for security could threaten safety by disrupting their normal routines. "We've trained these pilots so carefully, and we've ingrained in them that predictable routine makes it safe," says Susan Coughlin, a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board who is president of the Aviation safety Alliance, "Let's let them do that and let law enforcement do the rest" (as cited in Levin, p. 3).


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Wassink, J.R., & Cherry, B.L. (2003).… [END OF PREVIEW]

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