The U.S. Airline Industry: Effects of September 9-11


Airport security has become paramount in the wake of attacks targeting airplanes and airport facilities. A number of security measures have been taken and others upgraded following the happenings of September 9/11. There is need to ensure more security or that security is beefed up since airliners remain a substantial target by terrorists. One of the reasons Airline has remained a substantial target for terrorism is that many victims can be targeted at once. In addition, there is a possibility of creation of substantial fear among the citizen and people world-over, since attack of airline attracts substantial media attention (Kaplan, 2006).

The emergency of TSA

The TSA emergency of TSA was as a result of efforts to improve security by having a body that would be in charge of the security of the Airports. This body would be in charge to introduce a variety of changes that would ensure this security. Security screening in the airport has been mandated to the federal employees and provided in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which also created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Several screening procedures including use of metal detectors, x-ray detectors, and explosive detector system, have been implemented by the TSA. Changes have resulted to even minor security requirements such as requiring passengers to remove shoes or those prohibiting carry-on liquids. In addition, other security measures including presence of several police being present at the airports and increased cooperation between airport and security officials have been achieved (Kaplan, 2006).

Strict security measures

Apart from passenger body and luggage screening, other measures have been added to beef up airport security. Such one measure includes that of observing the passenger list. TSA officials are required to receive lists of passengers willing or ready to travel, and they compare this list to a watch list. Formerly, there were complains since such screening measure exposed passengers to exploitation by violating their rights concerning sharing of their data and poor maintenance of passenger data. Efforts for striking a proper balance between passengers’ rights on list screening, and their security, has been attempted through the Secure Flight Program. Registered Traveler is a program that facilitates the screening of passengers by using their background information and biometric identifiers such as fingerprints. To heighten further the security of passengers, some planes have undercover security officers or armed pilots aboard (Kaplan, 2006). Behavior pattern recognition (BPR) is a program that has been adopted in airports to help identify potential terrorists while screening passengers. The strategy involves identification of suspects at the airport using defined behaviors such as wearing heavy cloths on a warm day, excessive sweating, e.t.c. and these are taken for interviewing to identify if they are terrorists. Flaws have been reported despite these heightened techniques. For example, Shoe-Bomber Richard Reid escaped the BPR security even after being suspected, interviewed and scrutinized, because he was wearing a bomb and was not properly searched during the interrogation (Kaplan, 2006).

Economic impact

The impacts of September 9/11 can be analyzed by considering the impacts on aggregate demand of consumer businesses, business confidence, and impacts on main determinants or drivers of the economy such as energy (Makinen, 2002). The GDP growth was low in the first half of 2001, indicating that there were negative impacts of the September 9/11 attacks. In addition, there was reported contraction during the third quarter of 2001. However, these and other reports have been rubbished as false. However, the report by Makinen (2002) indicates that the impacts of the September 9/11 on the economy were short lived. However, there is substantial evidence that the attacks caused substantial panic even adequate to disrupt the economy. It would be fallacy to say that the trade between U.S. and other countries such as Canada was not affected by the 9/11 attacks. The indicators that the economy of the world, not only that of the U.S. was affected by the attacks is that there was a sore in the oil prices. The long-term impacts of 9/11 will be felt over time or have been felt over time because resources have been used to ensure the security of production, distribution, finance, and communication (Makinen, 2002). The effects of the September 11 attacks included muting the growth of the economy in the 4th Quarter of 2001. Although the tourism and the airline industries in various states were facing a number of challenges including economic downturn/recession, unavailability of profitable business model, and competition, the 9/11 attacks compounded these problems and challenges (Albright, 2002). The terrorist attacks led to the deterioration of the domestic and international tourism and travel. Substantial impacts to business resulted from the fears created on travelers and tourists on the security of the United States’ airlines. As the major target by terrorists, travelers have been reported to fear to visit the United States ? (Albright, 2002). Airline companies reported losses following the attacks and the likes of Swissair and Sabena went bankrupt. The going bankrupt of the aforementioned company (Swissair) has been blamed both on the losses following the September 11 attacks as the major reason, but other reasons such as the inadequacy or errors by company’s executive have been pointed out (Blurtit, 2010).


The September 9/11 resulted in deterioration in business and collapse of some airline companies. Many were forced to adjust, although the actual claim is that the attacks deteriorated the situation by complicating the existing problems. Evidence of the existence of problems such as economic even before 9/11 have been reported with companies realizing losses in business (Isidore, 2005). In addition to saving security, there have been efforts to improve general transport. Other effects of the attack include the companies cutting back on business class seats and budgets. There have been criticisms launched on the efforts to ensure security, with such arguments that there is no indication of how much of the captured substances at the airport (e.g. through screening), would have caused impacts (The Indian, 2010).


Albright, M. (2002). Terror only one blow to tourism. St. Petersburg Times. Web.

Blurtit. (2010). Why did Swissair go bankrupt? Blurtit. Web.

Isidore, C. (2005). Delta, Northwest file for bankruptcy: Spike in jet fuel sparks filings, putting almost half of U.S. airline capacity in Chapter 11. CNN. Web.

Kaplan, E. (2006). Targets for terrorists: Post-9/11 Aviation security. Council on Foreign Relations. Web.

Makinen, G. (2002). The economic effects of 9/11: A retrospective assessment. FAS. Web.

The Indian. (2010). Airport security measures after 9/11 largely ineffective in ensuring passenger safety. The Indian. Web.