Moscow shows airport ground-attack risk
Yesterday’s Moscow bombing shows much more must be done to protect the world’s airports from ground attacks, a risk long overlooked in the post-Sept. 11 rush to secure passengers inflight, analysts said on Monday.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, airliner attacks, the homeland security industry sharply increased investment in sophisticated detection technology designed to prevent terrorists bent on hijacking or bombing being able to get aboard airliners.
While understandable given the unprecedented nature of the al Qaeda assault, the campaign was overly focused on inflight risks and neglected the challenge of protecting passengers and airline staff on the ground, aviation experts say.
Airports as much as government buildings are iconic targets, experts say; and, just as important are crowded places that offer militants the opportunity to kill large numbers of people gathered in one place.
“This is a major security loophole,” said Philip Baum, editor of Aviation Security International. “The industry has missed the bigger picture and instead got on with addressing the last-known risk, not the risk to come. We are always reactive.”