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Aviation Security - Essay Example

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In order to ensure security of passengers and their baggage, it is imperative that proper screening procedures be employed. These screening procedures work to detect any harmful equipment, primarily metallic, and hence help refrain from getting onboard. Both the passengers and their luggage are walked and strolled through walk-in detectors, which screens them for the presence any such questionable or objectionable objects.
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Aviation Security
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Download file to see previous pages Besides screening the passengers and the carry-on baggage, the screening of checked baggage is also carried out. The motive behind the checked baggage screening is to detect the presence of bombs.
No one can deny the possibility of terrorism onboard and it is imperative that proper security measures be taken. Such screening procedures are the primary sources of detecting any threat before hand and ensuring security of both the passengers as well as the aviation staff. Both the metal detector and the X-ray machine were found to be only as effective as the individuals operating them. It was discovered that the large volume of passengers going through the screening process produced the "assembly line" syndrome, causing security personnel to become much less vigilant. This coupled with terrorists' success in disguising weapons by dismantling them and distributing them among themselves, made it all too easy to circumvent this security measure. The biggest challenge is to prevent the civil aircraft from becoming a weapon of destruction.
Until the September 11 attacks, the airport terminal was viewed as the first line of protection for commercial aviation against the most dangerous types of terrorist action. Based on available evidence, it is unknown whether the September 11 assailants used devious means to avoid detection of what they were carrying through pre-board screening or whether they had any "inside" help, but it is clear that under the then governmental rules and operation procedures they could have legally boarded the aircraft with the implements that they eventually used as weapons.
In the wake of September 11, remedial attention focused on the carry-on screening system. There was an attempt to provide a tighter definitional mesh to screen-out potential "dual-use" utensils that could be used as weapons from being introduced into the passenger cabin. There was also a growing realization that the system was not working effectively to begin with.
The more the public learned about the system the less they wanted to fly. The more the private companies lobbied to keep their markets, the more irresponsible they seemed. The more it became apparent that the governmental department with the mission to oversee this system had utterly failed, the more giving the actual operation of the screening to the same governmental department became a litmus test for security correctness.
In words of Hiltzik, 2001, on September 11, "The system worked the way it was intended.... For three decades, it has been preoccupied with looking for guns and explosives rather than for dangerous people. That ... was its vulnerability. The terrorists did not breach the nation's airline security system, they slipped through its loopholes." (Hiltzik, 2001)
Thus, a second type of screening has found renewed attention: scrutiny of passenger bona fides and greater focus on those with suspicious backgrounds. It is just common sense that people boarding an aircraft, and thereby gaining access to a vulnerable part of the national transportation infrastructure, should meet certain ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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