Aviation Security in Passengers Transportation

Subject: Transportation
Pages: 15
Words: 4090
Reading time:
15 min
Study level: College

Abstract

The transport industry has greatly improved over the past years, for instance, passengers’ safety. The concerns of passengers’ safety were raised due to the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center via a passenger plane that was forced to blast into the building. This led to the formation of the Transportation Security Administration in the United States. The main duty of TSA was to ensure the safety of commercial aviation passengers. The formation of TSA has greatly brought a change in passenger safety in aviation in the United States. Air transport in the United States has evolved over the past years. In the past years, the safety of aviation passengers was not efficient. However, due to the al-Qaeda master-minded terror attack in the United States, aviation passengers’ safety has greatly improved in the country.

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Air transport is among the most used mode of transportation on the globe. However, in the recent past, there has been a rising concern over the safety of aviation passengers. This was mainly due to terror attacks especially the 2001 attack in the United States through a passenger aircraft. This raised concern over the safety of aviation passengers especially in the United States and this forced the United States authority to ensure that aviation passengers are safe.

The security Act that led to the formation of TSA was enacted in 2001. This led to the formation of the Transport and Security Administration. This body was formed to ensure the safety of aviation passengers in the United States. TSA has to ensure that screening procedures are health hazards free, but effectively address safety in airports, for instance, the use of X-rays in the screening procedure.

Introduction

The transport industry has greatly improved over the past years, for instance, passengers’ safety. Safety of passengers’ concern was raised due to the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center via a passenger plane that was forced to blast into the building. This led to the formation of the Transportation Security Administration in the United States. The main duty of TSA was to ensure the safety of commercial aviation passengers.

The formation of TSA has greatly brought a change in passenger safety in aviation in the United States. Air transport in the United States has evolved over the past years. In the past years, the safety of aviation passengers was not efficient. However, due to the al-Qaeda master-minded terror attack in the United States, aviation passengers’ safety has greatly improved in the country.

This is a dissertation on the state of security of aviation passengers. It involves evaluation of the state of security for the aviation passengers over the past years. It also evaluates the present security measures that aim at ensuring safety for the aviation passengers with the past security measures. Present and past security measures are evaluated to determine the effectiveness of the current policies and whether an improvement is required or not.

The paper will also involve current technologies used in the detection of hazardous materials and future technological developments on the detection of hazardous and harmful materials in airports and airstrips. It also involves a comparison of the current and future technological developments on detection of weapons and government requirements on detection of hazardous materials and weapons. Finally, the project evaluates the acceptance of aviation passenger safety measures by the public and evaluation whether it is adequate or not. Additionally, it involves suggestions to increase acceptance of the safety measures and transition of new technologies in detecting hazardous materials and weapons in airports and airstrips.

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Literature review

Air transport is among the most used mode of transportation on the globe. However, in the recent past, there has been a rising concern over the safety of aviation passengers. This was mainly due to terror attacks especially the 2001 attack in the United States through a passenger aircraft. This raised concern over the safety of aviation passengers especially in the United States and this forced the United States authority to ensure that aviation passengers are safe. The security Act that led to the formation of TSA was enacted in 2001. This led to the formation of the Transport and Security Administration. This body was formed to ensure the safety of aviation passengers in the United States (Mouse, 2006).

In the past years, the safety of aviation passengers was not a global issue because aviation passengers were assumed to be safe due to security checks conducted in airports and airstrips. Security checks in airports and airstrips in the past years before the terror attack in the United States in 2001, was not effective enough. This is because security checks were at times ignored. After all, aviation passengers were not unsafe. During these years the main concern on airports and airstrips was drug and human trafficking. This shifted attention from the safety of aviation passengers to ensuring the language of aviation passengers to ensure humans and drugs were not trafficked (Marcy, 2007).

Security checks at airports in the past years involved checks on loads and screening of passengers in case a passenger had a weapon such as a bomb and guns among others. However, the technology used in the detection of weapons at airports and airstrips during these times was not adequate and effective to detect all types of weapons, especially materials that are used in the manufacture of these weapons and hazardous materials. Moreover, the security check was not considered seriously leading to the security lapse witnessed during this time leading to the terror attack. The terror attack in 2001 was mainly attributed to security lapses at airports. The attack not only led to the deaths of aviation passengers but other innocent American citizens too (Lenox, 2005).

The formation of the TSA was a major security boost for the United States and aviation passengers. This security body was formed to ensure the reduction and combating of aircraft hijacking and ensure security at airports. Though TSA was formed with the main focus on airports, it also handles security matters on railroads and highways among others. TSA is charged with the responsibility of ensuring the safety of passengers on board. They carry their duty through screening of passengers and their luggage. TSA is subdivided into different sub-branches to ensure that they effectively and efficiently carry their duties, for instance, TSO. TSOs are the transport Security Officers.

These officers are mainly concerned with screening at the airport. Passengers must be screened by the security officers at the exit and entry points. TSA officers also control entries and exits at airports. Furthermore, the officers are also entitled to watch other areas beyond and before checkpoints. Secondly, the Federal Air Marshals. These officers are concerned with terror attacks on the United States through aircraft. The officers also cooperate with passengers to ensure safety at airports. However, this department of TSA works in close relation with the TSO department (Kessler, 2007).

Research methodology

Several research methods can be applied for this study; however, it will apply quantitative research on the study topic. The data will be quantitatively collected by reviewing past information on the development of the evolution of the aviation passengers’ safety and screening procedures (Brown, 2011).

Discussion and data analysis and findings

Aviation legislation law

Air transport is one of the most dangerous considering security threats that passengers may be exposed to. This is due to rising terrorism concerns. Terrorism is a global concern especially in the United States due to attack threats by the al-Qaeda group. After the terror attack on World Trade Center in the United States, the country developed strategies that could enable them adequately and effectively combat terror crime and ensure passengers’ safety. This compelled the United States government to create the TSA. Generally, TSA was created due to the enactment of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act.

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This act was passed by the majority of Congress and later signed into law the same year, 2001. The act was signed into law by the former president of the United States, George Bush. The act applied to all air-related travel to ensure the safety of air transportation in the Country and globally. TSA has several functions that it is charged. These functions are geared towards ensuring the safety of passengers in air transportation. They also aim at enhancing trust in the air transport industry and increasing the number of air travelers hence increase in air transportation (Charles, 2008).

Functions of Transportation Security Administration

TSA is charged with several functions in airports, especially in the United States. These functions are geared towards ensuring the safety of passengers while onboard, for instance, reporting to congress. TSA had to report to Congress within sixty days after 25th November 2005. The report was to be presented by the secretary to the congress, and it had to contain a plan that complies with section 44901 requirements. Therefore, this close formed during the formation of the body gave it the responsibility of submitting a report to the congress through its secretary on the progress of the body and in case of any security lapse in air transportation (David, 2010).

Secondly, TSA has the mandate to consult with Federal Aviation Administration. Federal Aviation Administration is concerned with safety at airports and works in conjunction with TSA. These are two independent bodies but they carry out related tasks that are ensuring the safety of passengers in airports. TSA is concerned with security and may take any action to ensure safety of passengers in airports. However, the Secretary of the department, TSA has to consult with the Federal Aviation Administration top officials to ensure that the decision taken though it is a security boost to the industry, does not affect normal operation in the respective airport or airstrip (Christina, 1997).

The formation of the TSA was a major security boost for the United States and aviation passengers. This security body was formed to ensure the reduction and combating of aircraft hijacking and ensure security at airports. Though TSA was formed with a main focus on airports, it also handles security matters on railroads and highways among others. TSA is charged with the responsibility of ensuring safety of passengers on board. They carry their duty through screening of passengers and their luggage. TSA is subdivided into different sub-branches to ensure that they effectively and efficiently carry their duties, for instance, TSO. TSOs are the transport Security Officers.

These officers are mainly concerned with screening at the airport. TSA officers screen passengers and their properties. They also control entries and exits at airports. Furthermore, the officers are also entitled to watch other areas beyond and before check points. Secondly, the Federal Air Marshals. These officers are concerned with terror attacks on the United States through aircrafts. However, this department of TSA works in close relation with the TSO department (About.com, 2011).

Furthermore, TSA has a Transportation Security Inspectors department. The department is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that cargo and passengers at the airport are inspected and assessed before authorized to join a plane or board a flight. They are also in charge of inspection of the transport system and ensure that it is safe before it used by passengers. Generally, this department ensures safety of aircrafts in airports and security state of cargos and passengers in airports. Moreover, TSA has an established National Explosives Detection Canine Department. This department is charged with the responsibility of detecting explosives and dangerous materials that may be present in airports.

It checks passengers, cargos and the entire airport premises to ensure that there are no explosives or dangerous materials that can compromise security at the airport. This department works as a mobile security agents at airports and they use different detective materials or equipments. Apart from the gadgets used by the departmental officers, dogs are also used in detection of explosives at the airport. Finally, TSA has a Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response department. This department incorporates services of Federal Air Marshals and other TSA security officers that work outside the airport environment. This department is important because it ensures that any planned attacks on airports from other places do not succeed but instead defeated (About.com, 2011).

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TSA has effectively tried to fight terror attack on the United States. This is because the security body has been consistently developing its security measures. Security measures taken by TSA have improved over the past years due to technological development. TSA has effectively responded to technological developments and incorporated them in detection processes due to the strategic plans of TSA and updating of their security measures taken at airports. State of security has greatly improved at airports leading to increased security alert and detection of terrorist attacks in advance (About.com, 2011).

Security check by TSA and how it handles security issues have improved over the years due to technological developments. Apart from the departments and teams formed by TSA to ensure it effectively ensure security of aviation passengers, there are other security procedures that TSA applies that have also greatly improved security checks at airports. In the past, TSA used explosive detectives especially dogs and other security gadgets but not improvised due to the technology available at that time.

It also incorporated use of Behavior Detection Officers. These officers were charged with the responsibility of assess or observing passengers while undergoing security checks and detect any strange behaviors. This could allow the officers detect any passenger with terror intention and conduct further security checks on the respective passenger. The officers also asked questions to suspicious passengers to determine cause of suspicion and further advise the airport security on the decision to take to ensure safety of aviation passengers and security at the respective airport (John, 2009).

Furthermore, TSA currently applies the luggage search through luggage locks technology. This gives TSA officers easy access to properties of passengers hence improve security. TSA officers effectively carry out their duty through use of technology hence easily access locks without keys of the respective locks. Tools used by TSA can easily access locks. This technology has enabled TSA to effectively search luggage of passengers and discover any material that was not detected at the screening bay by airport security officers. Development in technology and its incorporation in security search at airports enabled TSA to detect explosives designed as printer cartridges.

This led to cartridge ban while traveling. Furthermore, terrorists also developed explosives designed as laser printers. Discovery of these explosives due to increased technological application in screening also led to ban of such cartridges and printers while traveling via plane (Jeffries, 2001).

Plans by terrorists have been effectively countered by the TSA and reduced terror risks attacks and boosted security state at airports. However, terrorists are determined to attack and frequently update with technological developments to defeat TSA efforts of fighting terror attacks on aviation passengers and ensuring their safety. On the other hand, TSA is also determined to defeat, deter and detect any terror threat on airports and aircrafts and ensure safety of aviation passengers. This has led to frequent and consistent research by TSA on appropriate technology to apply in the screening process to ensure that passengers are safe.

This led t enhanced of screening procedures by TSA at airports. TSA has also enhanced use of millimeter wave and backscatter X-ray machines that are used for detection purposes. These gadgets are used to detect both non metal and metal materials underneath clothes of passengers on board and those at the airport premises. In the recent past, TSA used the pat down screening procedure which was not effective in detection of metals and non metals underneath clothes of passengers.

However, TSA has also enhanced screening procedures used in the past to improve security at airports and screening process. Furthermore, TSA has also embraced the use of Advanced Imaging Technology to ensure effective and adequate screening at airports. This technology has enabled TSA security agents to screen passengers through a machine without necessarily pat down a check or use of millimeter-wave machines. Advanced Imaging Technology machines are used to detect materials hidden in clothes (David, 2010).

Advanced Imaging Technology was developed after a Nigerian Islamist attempted to destroy an airline after hiding explosives in his underwear but was later discovered after a thorough security check at the airport. It also led to the enhancement of the pat-down screening procedure. Though the Advanced Imaging Technology may be considered effective in the screening procedure, other methods have been developed while others are still on a test to determine their effectiveness on the screening process and comparison with the existing screening procedures used by TSA and other airport security officers in screening passengers.

This is because, despite the adoption of advanced technology in the screening procedure, terrorists also adopt the technology and use it against developed screening procedures to enable them to undertake terror attacks on airports. TSA has frequently enhanced screening procedures to ensure the safety of passengers in airports, for instance, new millimeter-wave machine software. In 2011, TSA tested new software that was used to screen passengers before going through the screening procedure. This software enabled TSA officers to detect harmful gadgets carried by passengers before boarding planes. This enabled TSA to undertake thorough security checks on such passengers because the software recommends special security checks on such passengers (About.com, 2011).

The new software developed in millimeter-wave has the potential to detect potential security threats on passengers hence enabling airport security to easily screen passengers with potential threats and save time. The software does not also require a review of passengers’ images but it alerts officers in case a passenger has a potential security threat. Furthermore, screening procedure also has improved to the extent that presently TSA and airport security officers only uses gadgets with yellow lights that are directed on specific areas of the body, and in case a potential security threat has detected the gadgets raises alarm leading to further security checks on such passengers by TSA security officers and airport security agents (John, 2009).

Security measures taken by TSA and other airport security agents have greatly improved over the past years. It has evolved from the use of pat-down screening procedures to detect potential security threats on passengers and the use of millimeters to Advanced Imaging Technology. Furthermore, it has presently led to the development of gadgets that automatically detect potential threats on passengers without the involvement of TSA officers hence taking extra security checks on such passengers to ensure that passengers are safe and terror attacks are defeated (John, 2009).

The X-ray screening procedure is effective in screening passengers. However, due to the rising concern of the medical effects of the X-ray screening procedures, new screening methods are due to be adopted by the security agents and TSA officers. This will be possible due to the intense and consistent review of the technological developments in the globe and United States. Use of X-ray has been opposed by medical professionals due to differentials in medical state of the body.

Certain medical complications may worsen if the body is exposed to X-ray. This is because X-ray leads to radiation of the body. Furthermore, X-ray may also lead to death of the body cells if the body is frequently exposed to the X-ray light. Therefore, due to effects of radiation on the body cells, some alternatives are being developed to replace X-ray screening in airports. Generally, certain passengers refuse x-ray screening procedure due to its effects on passengers.

This has affected the number of passengers who board planes. However, it is against security measures applied at airports for any passenger to refuse to undergo security check hence this can lead to termination or cancellation of the respective fight. Moreover, a passenger has the right to refuse screening and leave the airport before the screening procedure but he or she cannot be allowed to board any flight in the respective airport where he or she has refused security check (Jeffries, 2001).

Technology is dynamic and frequently advancing. On the other hand, terrorists and security agents closely monitor technological advancements and apply them in their quest to achieve their goals and objectives. Terrorists are determine to attack and kill passengers while security agents, for instance, TSA are determined to ensure that passengers are safe and the airport is free from terror threat attacks. This has led to response to technological changes and advancements to ensure safety of passengers by TSA and airport security agents (Alexandra, 2007).

Recommendations

Passengers’ security at airports is among the greatest concern of TSA and other airport security agents. Safety of passengers is a priority to the respective security agents in the respective airports. On the other hand, terrorists are also on the look out to spread terror and achieve their goal of destroying aircrafts and creating insecurity in airports. However, security agents especially the TSA has effectively and adequately responded to increased terror attacks by terrorists.

This has decreased the level of insecurity in airports and other related areas. Though screening procedures have advanced in airports, certain screening procedures are health hazard to passengers though it ensures that aviation passengers are safe from terror attacks. Therefore, there are several factors that the TSA and security agents in airports must take into consideration (Aggrey, 2010).

TSA has to ensure that screening procedures are health hazards free, but effectively address safety in airports, for instance, use of X-ray in the screening procedure. TSA and airport agents have to ensure that screening procedures used though they defeat terror activities, they also take into consideration health of passengers. Therefore, TSA and airport security agents must ensure that a new and health considerate screening procedure is developed to ensure safety of passengers and healthy living.

Moreover, TSA and security agents at the airports have to ensure that screening procedures are frequently reviewed and better and effective methods are adopted to ensure that aviation passengers are safe and terror is defeated in airports. Additionally, TSA and airport security agents must work in liaison to boost security at the airport. They should also seek information from passengers in case they suspect a passenger and he or she went through a security check without notice. This will enhance the efficiency of TSA and airport security agents (Michael, 2000).

TSA must ensure that their departments work in coordination and share information in time. It should also ensure that there is no conflict of interest of information by the respective departments. TSA has effectively combated terror activities in airports in the United States. However, there are certain security agents and government officials that are not entitled to security checks due to their position in the government of national security.

This might pose a security threat to aviation passengers in case of impersonation. It can therefore compromise the security of aviation passengers. Therefore, TSA and airport security have to ensure that they petition the government through revision of the act to empower the body (TSA) security officers to conduct security checks to all passengers irrespective of their positions in government and other organs in the security of the country (Nelson, 2006).

Conclusions

The safety of aviation passengers has been considered an international and national issue in the United States. This is due to the increased number of terror attacks and airplane hijacking among others. However, the United States has taken into consideration security measures and formed a security agency in charge of ensuring the safety of aviation passengers and airport environments. This body was formed a terror attack on the United States through an aircraft in 2001.

Furthermore, the safety of passengers has been improved over the past years due to advancements in technology and the adoption of better screening methods adopted by TSA and airport security agents. Screening and security practices in airports have evolved over the past years. In the past, TSA applied pat-down screening procedures and later incorporated gadget screening, Advanced Imaging Technology, and X-ray screening procedures. These procedures have greatly improved security in airports. However, there is a rising concern on the health effects of the screening procedures adopted by the TSA and airport security agents.

This is basically due to the application of X-ray screening procedures. X-ray has effects on the cells of the body due to the radiation involved in the use of the screening procedure. Technology is dynamic and has been constantly developing leading to improvement in screening procedures. Therefore, before adopting a screening procedure, it must be tested on health effects. This will ensure the safety of aviation passengers and healthy living by the respective passengers.

References

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Kessler, A. (2007). Air transport and terror concerns. Chicago: Yale University Press.

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Mouse, M. (2006). Airport security: Transport and Security Administration. Chicago: Pearson Education.

Nelson, W. (2006). Technology and Security in airports. New York: Springer.