The aviation industry prides itself for the safety of air travel, and they have the numbers to prove it. According to extensive probability calculations, a person has a 1 in 11 million chance of dying in a plane crash. In stark contrast, events as simple as falling out of bed are more likely to kill you than a plane crash (1 in 2 million chances).
And yet, people still fear flying. No one can blame them. Until airport security gets replaced by perfectly foolproof security systems (which is not likely to happen anytime soon), there is still the possibility for danger. It’s why aviation safety course trainees under SAA.com.sg and other training centres take weeks before they complete their training.
The Current Situation
Just last year, fear engulfed the American populace when airport screeners failed to find potentially dangerous contraband. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson ordered tightened security after undercover government agents managed to smuggle fake explosives into airports, as part of a nationwide screening. The airport screeners failed 95% of the time, and in an alarming fashion, they didn’t even find anything after patting several agents down.
Furthermore, other undercover tests targeting checked baggage screening revealed other glaring holes. Several reviews found vulnerabilities throughout the security system; much of which are due to human error and technological failures. All of this happened despite spending $540 million for new checked baggage screening equipment, as well as $11 million for personnel training.
What Does This Mean?
The situation described above is not endemic to American airports: it can happen anywhere else in the world. Quick, precise amendments to all airport security processes around the globe must be enacted, or else history may repeat itself.
One only needs to look back at some of the bloodiest air travel incidents in history. In 1985, EgyptAir Flight 648 was hijacked by three Palestinian terrorists. An Egyptian Security Service member on-board began to open fire, killing one of the suspects. It was a terrible move. The agent was shot multiple times in revenge and was killed on the spot, with the resulting gunfire puncturing the plane’s fuselage and creating an air pressure disturbance.
The pilot was forced to land without permission, and what happened afterwards was a bloody standoff — a firefight between the hijackers and Egyptian commandos erupted, killing 60 of the 92 passengers on-board. Even the tiniest slip-up in today’s airport security could lead to something like this, and it’s an understatement.
It’s time that airport safety and security be a main focus of the world’s governments. It’s not enough that statistical probabilities serve as proof of air travel’s safety — it must be backed up with solid action.