Free Essay: Airport Security
Airports are important installations to the economy of any country. They act as the routes that facilitate movement into the country. Based on the important role that they play, they attract the attention of all kinds of people. However, it should be noted that the use of these facilities is determined by their safety and security. Many nations across the world have invested in airports so as to attract more people towards using them.
Over the years, airport security has been a major concern since it ensures that the safety of the public while traveling. Besides, it also prevents the failure of the airline companies economically. Mills Patrick argues that, ‘’certain security procedures have been initiated to put off, prevent and act in response to various criminal acts that would otherwise compromise the safety of the public (16).’’ Security has further been enhanced over the years as a result of the upsurge in terrorism, drug trafficking and escape of fugitives who are avoiding justice in their home countries.
The security of the airports should be competent and give the public an assurance of safe trips. In fact, it is important that the airlines provide the public with information on the measures that they have undertaken to curb crime in their areas of operations. Airport security is aimed at protecting our nation from the threats of drug smuggling, hijacking of planes and influx of fugitives running away from justice in their home countries.
Airport security is targeted at assuring the public of their safety and also that of their goods. It tries to protect the image of the country in the event of illegal transportation of drugs, immigration and even terrorism. Different countries employ various measures of enhancing security at the airports. A good number notably have special police force mandated with ensuring the safety of passengers and their goods, as well as the aircraft. Some of these security strategies include government policies aimed at creating security passes that people have to go through before they board any plane.
Foremost, airport security has put in place effective measures to prevent the smuggling of drugs. Every airport is equipped with a dedicated police force and dog unit, used in the detection and obtaining possible drugs hidden in the luggage of passengers. The police force is used in conducting body searches on possible suspects to ensure that no drugs are smuggled across the borders via the airports.
Besides, the luggage is usually passed through screening by x-ray systems before they are packed into the airplanes. Passengers also have to pass through the x-ray systems to make sure that none carries drugs in their bodies. Prevention of drug trafficking makes the whole process of passenger boarding faster and also assists the government in preventing the menace of drug smuggling across the globe.
For instance, in September 1, 2013, Colombian police arrested a foreign woman at one of their airports. The woman who pretended to be pregnant was caught trying to smuggle cocaine in a plastic belly that showed she was 7 months pregnant. One of the people involved in the screening process touched her stomach and felt a cold and stiff swelling that is not usually associated with pregnancy. On further screening, it was later found out that the bulge in her stomach was a plastic bowl with 2 kilos of cocaine. With an ineffective security system in the airports, such tricks could easily be successful. Her acts show the changing trends by traffickers to smuggle drugs into the country.
This calls for an improvement in the security system to help in handling such incidences. Many of the traffickers have been scared by the screening that is usually done at the airports and this has pushed them to coming up with new other means with quite a number of them avoiding airports today. This is a great achievement on the part of those concerned with airport security.
Airport security has also put in place, measures aimed at preventing the hijacking of airplanes and consequent attacks by terrorists. These two are among the major concerns for most people who travel through our airports. According to St John P. Air Piracy, ‘’…this happened because of the September 11 attack, which saw hijacking of airplanes that resulted into the death of the passengers.’’ Airport securities have made improvements on this through setting up metal detectors to prevent passengers from boarding planes with metal objects.
Besides, airport authorities have also outlined the kinds of objects that can be allowed and those that are illegal for passengers to have in the airplanes. With this, the screening process is made even much faster and easier. The airport security personnel also use dogs and explosive drug-detection portal machines for detecting and uncovering explosives in the luggage of passengers. With this, the passengers can be assured of safety in the trips and arrival at their destinations without the threats of attacks.
The biggest terrorist attack in the US was the aircraft hijacked orientation. The crash at the World Trade Center in New York City and the Ministry of Defense (Pentagon) on September 11 2001 remain etched in the US history. The first two planes used in the attack destroyed the two Trade Center towers while the third one crashed parts of the Ministry of Defense building while the fourth one crashed into the field in Somerset County in Pennsylvania. As a result of these terrorist attacks, many lives were lost.
The use of metal detectors is a common practice in many airports across the world and metallic objects are generally not allowed in planes. The security checks are done before the passengers go through the gates for boarding the planes. These are known as airsides. In order to avoid recurring unnecessary checks, passengers are released into these areas as soon as they leave the planes. The process applies to both local and international travelers. The area is restricted to only those who are boarding the planes or deplaning. Even the friends and families of passengers are not allowed into the screening section for purposes of security. This restriction has enhanced the screening process.
However, it also occurs that the airport staff can be the problem. If the staff is not well prepared for the task, they can leave loopholes that could threaten security. In order to curb such instances, the airports have ensured that all their staff members maintain high levels of work ethics and integrity. As a result of this, the staff has been able to significantly reduce the cases of illegal immigration, smuggling of illegal substances among others by counter checking passengers. The installation of CCTV cameras at the airports has also been instrumental in helping the staff to trace offenders and bring them to justice.
Airport security has also invested in equipment used in the prevention of fugitives from running away from justice. The security apparatus have face detection machines used for scanning faces and making comparisons with law enforcement databases in order to ensure that the planes do not carry criminals. Scanners are used and all the passengers’ passports are screened to make sure that each is given clearance to board the flight.
Special police teams have further been placed in airports to make sure that potential fugitives are arrested on sight without interruption of the normal airport functions. This gives the police an easier time in capturing fugitives who plan to leave the country through the airports. For example, NSA leaker Snowden gets asylum and leaves Russia airport. Fugitive Edward Snowden has left the Russian airport transit area where he has been hiding for the past one month. Russia granted a one year asylum to American fugitive Edward Snowden, allowing the former United States’ spy agency contractor to quietly move out of Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow after being in hiding for more than five weeks but angering America.
Airport security shields the country from the fugitives that may want to destroy the nation. The incident that could have passed unnoticed if the security had not put in place measures to prevent such activities has been condemned by many. When it comes to traveling, international relations have been a major issue. In nations that are perceived to be insecure, countries have issued travel advisories to their citizens. This has pushed many countries to improve the security of their airports in order to attract many people. A sense of security at the airports helps in reassuring passengers that their safety is well taken care of. Failure to uphold this, a country can lose a significant number of international flights.
Countries like the United States do not allow direct flights from countries that they consider as potential security threats. Planes from such countries have to go through other countries with enhanced security systems before they get access to American soil. This has forced other nations to enhance their general security in order to have direct flights. American airports are safeguarded by a multi-system approach so as to give priority to passenger safety.
People have varied opinions about the time that should be spent on security checks with some viewing it as a waste of time and others seeing it as a necessary procedure. According to some people, security apparatus need to identify the potential criminals and allow those known to be of good conduct. However, this can only create a gap that can be used in disguise by criminals. Because of the long queues at the screening points, the American airport authority has come up with new methods of reducing them. Some airports conduct the passenger screening process through observation techniques.
It should be noted that despite the measures put in place by airport security agents, there still have been several incidences across the globe. Most of these incidences have been linked to security lapses at the airports. Thus, countries should focus on continuous improvement of security measures in order to stop them. The use of enhanced equipment and trained personnel could be instrumental in reducing unnecessary dangers to the passengers and give them the assurance of their security.
To conclude on this topic, it is important that airport security is effective to make sure that passengers are safe through prevention of aspects like terrorism, hijacking of planes, drug smuggling and escape of fugitives. The police should continuously support airport security by offering workforce, weapons and equipment required for ensuring that drugs are not trafficked across the borders. They are also ideal in ensuring that flights are safe for use by passengers without threatened by the risk of being hijacked.
If this is ensured, security will be maintained and passengers will have a guarantee of safety. The links within nations could also help in improving airport security. This can be done by sharing of intelligence and having good relations. However, it should be noted that security begins with the passengers themselves. Each should report anything that they find suspicious to the respective authorities immediately (Moore, 1991). To wrap it up, efficient management of the security situation can also help in restoring the faith of passengers in using airports since security has a direct impact on the country’s economy.
St, John P. Air Piracy, Airport Security, and International Terrorism: Winning the War against Hijackers. New York: Quorum Books, 1991. Print.
Mills, Patrick. Airport Security. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale Cengage Learning, 2012.
Moore, Kenneth C. Airport, Aircraft, and Airline Security. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann,
- Print. Web. 28 September. 2013. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-24058118>