Following EL AL's Lead

Published: January 24th 2011
in News » World

EL AL Security

Following today’s massive casualty loss at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, other airports around the world are in the process of evaluating their security measures in an effort to avoid a similar disaster.


This process is repeated after every attempted terrorist attack, whether successful or not. Most airports evaluate their security, increase their presence for a temporary time in direct relation to the attack, and often scale back weeks later.


Airports changed their approach after Lockerbie, and then September 11th happened and thousands lost their lives. They then increased security again, some complaining that they went overboard, and the shoe bomber happened. Again, security measures were changed and all passengers had to take off their shoes, and then the failed Christmas day bombing happened. Experts again suggested that airports need to ramp up passenger screening procedure and purchase new equipment. Of course, that didn’t stop today’s attack from happening.


The consent heard from security experts are that airports are as vulnerable today as they were pre September 11. In fact, most experts will agree that the only means of being truly secure is to follow EL AL’s lead.


Equipment is not enough if your security personnel are not well qualified. EL AL has always worked under the approach that their security people are more important than their equipment. They train and educate them constantly, drilling in them the idea that the safety record of the company means nothing. It’s the next passenger, the next flight that’s important.


All personal must speak a minimum of two languages. They must make the passengers feel comfortable, but at the same time, be assertive. Security is being done for their benefit as well. I’ve flown EL AL many times, and I’ve always appreciated their approach to security. They have the process so well organized that even though the passengers are asked to participate in extra security procedures, there is no delay to the flights.


EL AL is constantly working with Israeli intelligence, and other intelligence organizations, to cross reference all passengers who will be boarding the flight. Alarms which were raised with the Christmas day bomber, such as his father warning the U.S. Embassy about his son, or the shoe bomber having bought a one-way ticket with cash and arriving with no luggage; would never be ignored.


Today’s attack happened in the arrivals area on Domodevovo Airport. This is significant, as the arrival areas in many airports are not as secure as the departure areas. There are still airports around the world where people can walk into the baggage area and wait for incoming passengers.


Whoever planned today’s attack took this into consideration. They understood that the arrivals area is a soft target, meaning not as secure. They knew that there is a greater concentration of people there than anywhere else in the airport, and they are easily accessible.


In Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, the arrivals area is completely secured. No one who isn’t a passenger who has just landed can come into the area. All baggage has already been screed as it’s coming from elsewhere. In fact, people who are coming to Ben Gurion Airport must go through a security checkpoint even before they arrive at the terminal. Soon this will become the standard for many airports.


And while the rest of the world tries to catch up to EL AL’s standards, it’s EL AL who benefits. Increased fear of flying has led to a surge in demand for El Al flights. And following every attempted attack, that interest is renewed. It’s an unfortunate byproduct of too many failed security procedures.

Related articles: (EL AL, Security, Airport, Terrorist, Domodedovo)

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