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Category Archives: Passenger and Baggage Screening

Securing Air Cargo; the air cargo bomb lottery

The recent attempt to either bring down aircraft using air cargo, or mail letter bombs via air cargo (we’re still not sure but I’ll go with the Brits on this and agree it was likely an attempt to bring down a plane) has shed light on a little known part of the aviation industry. This will inevitably bring air cargo security to the forefront of a legislative aid somewhere, who will be directed to draft legislation to make sure that air cargo is “secured.” Before the Congressional staffers fire up their laptops, let’s look at what we’re really trying to secure here, because I can tell you that someone will soon call for the screening of all cargo that is shipped on all aircraft to be screened just like we screen luggage. That is NOT the solution. Continue Reading

This has been a test of the aviation security system

Remember when the Emergency Broadcast System would do those tests on TV? They still do from time to time, but without the threat of being annihilated by Soviet ballistic missiles, we don’t seem then much anymore. However, terrorists and bad guys continue to conduct tests of aviation security, and they just did another one. Click here for details.

When two men were apprehended in Amsterdam after traveling from Birmingham, AL to Chicago and Dulles, were found to have several items such as cell phones, watches, liquid bottles and box cutters taped together in their checked luggage your first thought should be that they were testing the aviation security in preparation for a future attack. Whether they were testing for a future bombing or hijacking attempt or just to be stupid, it was still a test. Continue Reading

Another threat, another box

The problem with new threats to aviation is that every time there is another threat, we get a new box at the checkpoint. At some point, we’re going to run out of space before we run out of threats.

While many in the industry, particularly TSA Federal Security Directors (FSD), are excited about the deployment of the whole body imagers, there are just as many people who are trying to figure out where to put them — they are called Airport Security Coordinators (ASC).

The WBI’s are about 3x as large as a walk-thru metal detector and take about 10x as long to process a passenger. There are two issues here. First, space. Second, time. Continue Reading

Why TSA’s credibility is always questioned

An article in USAToday explains exactly why TSA’s credibility is always questioned, particularly by those in the aviation industry.

The article discusses the new whole body imagers and their potential impact on airport passenger flow and screening lines. The TSA representative, despite educated opinions from actual airport operators, says that the new technologies will not slow down passenger flow because the length of time people spend at the checkpoints is actually a factor of how long it takes to put their bags through the x-ray machine, not going through the magnetometer.

This is why TSA has such low credibility with airport and airline operators. This type of thinking is reflective of policy makers who do not know enough to listen to the people actually running the systems and implementing the technologies — i.e. the real experts. Continue Reading

New law is not the solution

Again, here we are after another terrorist attack/attempt, and Congress decides to take action without direction so it looks like we’re doing something. We have to much of this in aviation security, looking like we’re doing something without actually doing it. Too bad the bad guys are doing it the other way around. Perhaps some of these Congressional staffers who do the actual policy making, should pick up a book on aviation security and read how the system works sometime – I can make some recommendations if they’d like. Continue Reading