Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 22, 2006

Air cargo security: is there a hijacking threat?

Filed under: Aviation Security,Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Christian Beckner on January 22, 2006

Air Cargo News has an interesting story today where the head of security of Lufthansa Cargo, Harald Zielinski, sounds a warning that current efforts to improve air cargo security do not adequately take into account the threat of a plane being hijacked and commandeered in a 9/11-style attack. He’s quoted in the story accordingly:

“The plans currently under discussion do not take into consideration that a terrorist could take control of a freighter aircraft and use it as a weapon….

“While there are plenty of regulations on the table that have and will further tighten procedures for the passenger/cargo combination business there is little consideration being afforded the operating crew or attendants onboard all-cargo aircraft.”

“Put another way, in an atmosphere of enlightened total security it cannot be up to a company alone to assure the safety and protection of its employees who transport and handle freight.”

“What is needed is enlightened re-regulation of security procedures that is the result of a wide ranging independent study of the current situation.”

Zielinski notes in the story that tens of thousands of airport employees potentially have access to aircraft in a major cargo hub airport, and worries about an insider threat that might afford terrorists access to a large cargo plane.

Other parts of the article are a bit confusing, but this key point is sensible, and certainly any effort to secure the air cargo system should take a comprehensive and risk-based approach: one that doesn’t fortify the front door and leave the back door wide open. The key countermeasures for this particular element of the threat are likely to be mandatory and/or enhanced background checks for airport workers, and airport-wide, credential-based access control and surveillance systems.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
  • LinkedIn

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>