Stowaway Sparks New Concerns Over Airport Security

13tarmacAuthorities feared a breach in airport security when on February 6th they found the body of a man who apparently hid  in the plane’s landing-gear compartment of a Delta Air Lines Inc before  a plane’s takeoff. The jet that flew to Tokyo’s Narita Airport from New York. The man must have somehow gained access onto the tarmac and snuck into the landing gear compartment right before the jet took off from JFK airport. The jets go through a full inspection before take off, but there is no proof or even a chance that the man worked for the airline or with anyone in the airport, since it is common knowledge that riding in the landing gear compartment is suicide. Spending 20 hours, 30,000 feet above the ground in 50 degree below zero temperatures with no oxygen is definitely not worth the free ride.

The reason that this is such a huge security concern is that if it’s easy for a man to sneak himself onto the plane as a stowaway, it means that explosives can also be snuck on just as easily.

“If a person can gain access to get in the wheel well, a person can gain access to plant a device on the airplane… It’s a major concern” said Douglas R. Laird, a former Northwest Airlines Corp. security chief who is now president of consultant Laird & Associates Inc. in Reno, Nevada.

Most airlines aimed to upgrade internal airport security measure rather than focusing on the outdoor tarmac. For example, most security upgrades ranged from adding more guards in the airport, more metal detectors, and even full body scanners. This incident will mostly likely change how airports focus on airport security.  The only good thing about this situation is that the security flaw was exposed by accident rather than a planned terrorist attack.

(Via BusinessWeek)

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