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Old 6th February 2010, 10:58 AM   #19
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: South of England
Posts: 1,137

Get it in perspective, folks! Passenger aircraft have been the target (real or threatened) of terrorists for as long as I can remember. Particular interest to me as I spent my working life flying around the world.

When we lived in the Taunus region of Germany (Seulberg, Maria S.) in the early 70s we sometimes used to hear the whump of explosives allegedly being tested by Baader-Meinhof and /or Red Army Faction. The bombs were usually triggered by pressure gauges. Flying out of Frankfurt (usually once or twice weekly) we used to breathe a sigh of relief at 10,000 ft because the mountains in the Taunus are lower and thus the baddies could not test bomb-triggers above that height. As for intrusive security, at FFM in the early 70s security used to search even the shoes of my two-yr-old son before boarding.

Then we have the IRA troubles, with mortars and their ground-to-air missiles allegedly being aimed at flights in and out of LHR and Belfast in the late 70s and 80s. I used to have to use both airports.

In the 80s, flying in, out and around the Middle East, we had the threats of Black September, PLO and other terrorist groups to contend with when security at Middle East other than Israel airports was laughable. We avoided Athens because at that time security was non-existent and it thus became a favourite boarding spot for hi-jackers.

[As an aside on technology, I was on the first flight out of Genoa in 1970 when they introduced the first walkthroughmetal-screening security archway. Everybody turned out to witness this new marvellous (sic!) safety device, from the central government ministers down to the local mayor. Unfortunately, somebody had set the tolerance level too low, so it picked up trouser and handbag zips, resulting in everybody on the flight having to be hand-searched. Security technology is only as good as the people using it.]

Aircraft will continue to be targetted, mainly because of their PR value, so any measure of security should be welcomed- but don't rely on the technology alone but employ properly screened, well paid and trained people. Don't outsource security to private companies whose main motivation is profit and thus cost-cutting. [So often it seems to be "Yesterday I was stacking shelves at Tescos, now I is an airport security officer, but only get a couple of quid a week more."]

Last edited by Juanjo; 6th February 2010 at 11:00 AM. Reason: Typos
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