Monday, March 25, 2014.
This morning the Malaysian Government stated that based on all their “new”
calculations, they have concluded that Flight 370 went down in the southern
Has terrorism been counted out for this flight – no. Until the whole story is known,
it will be impossible for anyone at this point to say that this happened because of pilot
error, mechanical failure, bad weather, or anything else. However, as we watched
the near continuous news coverage of this ill-fated flight, it was impossible to ignore
the many security weaknesses that were revealed as the drama played out, and
experts proposed possible new theories, even alien abduction!
The airlines around the world, and even the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),
have always maintained their unique security standards, unlike other industries
which have generally accepted security practices that are used worldwide. This
standardization of security elements has made it easier for multinational corporations
with offices worldwide, to secure their supply chains, ensure improved safety and
security for their employees, contractors and vendors, and, in my opinion,
contributed to making the world a safer place.
Unfortunately, this uniformity and standardization of security practices is not
mirrored in the airline industry globally, and even blatantly ignored by other
airlines, operating in other countries.
International travelers often see the little sign that says something like: THIS
AIRPORT HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED AS UNSAFE. Of course, because these
airports are often the only airport in the country, they are used anyway.
But the fate of Flight 370 has shocked some security experts by uncovering the
lack of security at a respected airport, generally thought to be safe and secure.
For example, right after 9/11, the FAA moved quickly to security the cockpit of
U.S. planes, and keep them locked and secure during flight. So it was quite a
surprise to have a young girl smiling and telling CNN how she partied with the
co-pilot in the cockpit during a recent flight.
“The FAA rule sets new design and performance standards for all current and
future airplanes with 20 or more seats in commercial service and all cargo
airplanes that have cockpit doors. Specifically, the rule:
Requires cockpit doors to remain locked. The door will be designed to prevent
passengers from opening it without the pilot’s permission. An internal locking device
will be designed so that it can only be unlocked from inside the cockpit.
Controls cockpit access privileges. Operators must develop a more stringent
approval process and better identification procedures to ensure proper
identification of a jump seat rider.”
As the tragedy has unfolded day by day, security experts can see vulnerabilities
in the way security controls are both either not required or are not correctly and
consistently implemented on planes around the world.
The “Tombstone Mentality” of the airline industry and civil aviation organizations now
have the tombstones for 370 individuals, and everyone hopes that even though we
don’t know know exactly why this flight went down, we can all see that there are
weaknesses in international security that need to be addressed in the aftermath of