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SKYJACK SUNDAY REVISITED: WHY ARE WE STILL NOT LEARNING FROM THE PAST?

SKYJACK SUNDAY REVISITED: WHY ARE WE STILL NOT LEARNING FROM THE PAST?

Fifty years ago, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), executed a terrorist attack against civil aviation, unprecedented at the time in terms of skill, coordination and media attention. The simultaneous hijacking of four airliners and the ensuing hostage crisis kept the world on edge. Dr. Jonathan Zimmerli examines archival sources of the early 1970s in…
FLIGHT ATTENDANT PORTRAYALS IN THE MEDIA: THE IMPACT ON INFLIGHT SECURITY

FLIGHT ATTENDANT PORTRAYALS IN THE MEDIA: THE IMPACT ON INFLIGHT SECURITY

The mass media love a flight attendant story, especially if there is a sexual twist to it. Consequently, many campaigners and employers are keen to condemn the continued stereotypical portrayal of a flight attendant as an object of sexual desire. A generation ago, already in a supposedly more enlightened era, Britney Spears' video, which accompanied her single 'Toxic',…
Loss of Institutional Knowledge: another casualty of COVID-19 by Victor Anderes

Loss of Institutional Knowledge: another casualty of COVID-19 by Victor Anderes

The world has changed in just five short months. Never have I heard the term ‘unchartered territory’ uttered as frequently in one week as I have in all my years collectively. Perhaps it is not unjust since we are in fact dealing with the most impactful global health pandemic since the commencement of civil aviation. “…defeated by a virus just 0.1 microns wide that…
PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS AND AVIATION SECURITY: HOW WILL COVID-19 SHAPE THEIR EVOLUTION? by Andrew Goldsmith

PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS AND AVIATION SECURITY: HOW WILL COVID-19 SHAPE THEIR EVOLUTION? by Andrew Goldsmith

The last six months have seen an unprecedented upheaval in the commercial aviation sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as aviation begins to show signs of recovery, the statistics are daunting. The most recent data from Airports Council International (ACI) revealed that global passenger traffic declined by an unprecedented 94% year-over-year in April 2020. For the…
AIR TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT: A CYBERSECURITY CHALLENGE

AIR TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT: A CYBERSECURITY CHALLENGE

Supporting every aircraft in flight is an unseen, complex, global infrastructure called the Air Traffic Management (ATM) system, which ensures that safety and security are routinely maintained. As the digitalisation of aviation proceeds at pace, ATM is evolving in parallel to deliver new services seamlessly and cost-efficiently. John Hird reveals how the system is…

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15 JUNE 2020: CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE

A Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority meeting being conducted over teleconferencing app, Zoom, was cut short after it was hacked into and interrupted with expletives and a pornographic video.

24 MAY 2020: NEPAL

A hacker named ‘Ghost057-5P3C706’ hacked the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority’s website and put an image of the Indian flag on it. The hacker also wrote ‘Just because we are silent and we don’t react doesn’t mean we didn’t notice.’

19 MAY 2020: UK

easyJet reported that their system was hacked and data relating to 9 million customers accessed. The data included email addresses and travel details, as well as the credit card details of 2,208 customers. easyJet was aware of the attack in January, notified customers whose credit card information was stolen in early April, and notified all customers affected by 26 May. easyJet claims that there is no evidence that customers’ data has been misused. The Information Commissioner's Office is investigating the attack.

14 APRIL 2020: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

Reports emerged that two websites operated by San Francisco International Airport were hacked in March. One website is used by the airport’s employees and the other is used by their construction contractors. The hackers attempted to steal the users’ Windows credentials. The hack was suspected to have been conducted by the Russian group named Energetic Bear, which has links to the Russian government and has primarily attacked energy companies.

23 FEBRUARY 2020: LOMÉ, TOGO

Three Burkina Faso nationals attempted to hijack a CEIBA flight that departed from Malabo and was en route to Lomé. The hijacking attempt occurred approximately one hour into the flight. Passengers and cabin crew were able to restrain the men.

26 NOVEMBER 2019: GASMATA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

A charter airline, Tropicair, was refuelling in Gasmata when it was commandeered by eight men armed with guns and knives. The men forced the pilot to take off from Gasmata and land at an unused airstrip at Cape Matis where they stole the cargo and luggage from the flight and fled. There were no passengers on board and the pilot and aircraft were not harmed.

24 FEBRUARY 2019: CHATTOGRAM, BANGLADESH

Palash Ahmed attempted to hijack a Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight en route to Dubai from Dhaka, with a scheduled stopover in Chattogram (Chittagong). It was initially reported that Ahmed was carrying a gun and explosives and that he had fired two shots. Later, it was found that the gun and explosives were fake and that the shot sounds were caused by “cracker-like substances”. Ahmed demands were to speak to his wife and to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina about his wife. When the plane landed in Chattogram, Special Forces negotiated the release of all passengers and crew. When the hijacker refused to leave, the authorities launched an eight-minute raid to remove him from the aircraft, resulting in Ahmed being shot. He later died from his injuries.

4 FEBRUARY 2019: KHARTOUM, SUDAN

A Sudanese deportee attempted to hijack Tarco-Air flight 103 en route from Cairo to Khartoum. Crew managed to restrain the man and the flight continued safely to its intended destination.

31 JANUARY 2019: NAPAKIAK, ALASKA

A 16-year-old attempted to hijack a Yute Commuter Service plane during its four-minute flight from Napakiak to Bethel. The teenager, who was sitting in the front passenger seat of the Piper Cherokee, briefly grabbed the plane’s yoke causing the plane to dive towards the ground. A female passenger sitting behind the teenager was able to restrain him, allowing the pilot to regain control of the flight and return to Napakiak.

21 JULY 2020: KHABAROVSK, RUSSIA

Khabarovsk Airport was evacuated due to a bomb threat on the same day the acting governor of the Khabarovsk Territory, Mikhail Degtyarev, arrived at the airport.

17 JULY 2020: VOLGOGRAD, RUSSIA

A North Wind Airlines flight from St. Petersburg to Makhachkala was forced to make an emergency landing in Volgograd after bomb threats were made against it.

17-20 JULY 2020: CHELYABINSK, RUSSIA

Chelyabinsk Airport was evacuated due to a bomb threat. This threat was received on the fourth consecutive day of bomb threats being made against the airport.

25 JULY 2020: LUTON, ENGLAND

Social distancing was not adhered to at London Luton Airport. Allegedly it took 30 minutes to pass through security despite the signage showing that the wait time was 0.

23 JULY 2020: SYRIA

Two US fighter jets caused a Mahan Air aircraft, flying over Syria en route to Beirut from Tehran, to nose dive after the jets got too close to the aircraft. Several passengers were injured. The US have accused Mahan Air of providing support to terrorist organisations and illegitimate regimes and have placed sanctions on them since 2011.

16 JULY 2020: LAGOS, NIGERIA

A man driving a Toyota Corolla crashed into a barrier on Oshodi-Airport Road and died from the impact. Allegedly, there was no clear sign to indicate the presence of the barrier on the road.

8 JULY 2020: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

Reports emerged that Qantas have tasked their flight attendants to act as wardens in hotels to ensure that those who are in quarantine are adhering to social distancing measures. This decision was made after COVID-19 cases continued to increase within the state of Victoria, and CCTV footage showed that security guards were having sex with quarantining guests, and thereby spreading the virus.

1 JULY 2020: BEIRUT, LEBANON

An altercation occurred between security personnel and journalists at Beirut-Rafik Hariri International Airport. The journalists were covering the reopening of the airport; however, security personnel told them to leave when they were found to be interviewing passengers who were undergoing COVID-19 tests. Allegedly some of the journalists were beaten by security.

21 JULY 2020: ROME, ITALY

Reports emerged that five people were arrested by the Fiumicino Border Police as part of an investigation into corruption involving Fiumicino International Airport. One of the five people arrested was a senior ENAC official. Allegedly, those that were arrested ordered public workers to ignore irregularities. One of the officials that was arrested, a 58-year-old man, was regularly compensated with luxury goods and cash. Two well-known lawyers and other businessmen are being investigated in relation to the corruption. One of the arrested suspects revealed that a 55-year-old businessman made an enquiry about transporting radioactive material.

9 JULY 2020: DELHI, INDIA

A 42-year-old general manager and a 37-year-old duty manager of a lounge at Indira Gandhi International Airport were arrested for allegedly sexually harassing a 26-year-old female colleague over a six-month period. The victim alleged that she was fired from her role on 7 July for not giving into the mens’ sexual harassment.

18 JUNE 2020: OTOPENI, ROMANIA

Approximately €800,000 (c. £720k) worth of luxury goods were stolen from containers that were due to be loaded onto aircraft at Henri Coandă Airport. Stolen goods included perfumes, minibars, various drinks, watches, jewellery, cosmetics, and bags. Police subsequently investigated employees of the Bucharest Airports National Company, dnata Catering SRL Romania, and other companies that operate at the airport.

9 JUNE 2020: TEHRAN, IRAN

A young male employee of Khomeini airport completed suicide by jumping from a second-floor mezzanine level inside the terminal after losing his job as a result of COVID-19 cut-backs.

9 JUNE 2020: PORT VILA, VAUATU

Journalists at Bauerfield International Airport were banned from taking pictures of an Air Calin flight that repatriated citizens who work on P&O Cruises.

31 JULY 2020: LUTON, ENGLAND

Kramat Khan, 36, was sentenced to six months in prison for his unruly behaviour on an easyJet flight from Luton to Tenerife in June last year. Khan grabbed a flight attendant from behind, hugged and kissed her on her neck. He also left his seat multiple times, removed his shirt and was aggressive to other flight attendants.

31 JULY 2020: BRISTOL, ENGLAND

Adam Lennon, 22, was sentenced for drunk and unruly behaviour, which caused a Ryanair flight from Murcia to Dublin to divert to Bristol on New Year’s Eve. Before the diversion, Lennon was play flighting with one of his friends; he then threatened to punch a cabin crewmember and swore at another. He was jailed for four months and ordered to pay Ryanair the full cost of the diversion, £5,893.03.

26 JULY 2020: TEL AVIV, ISRAEL

Six additional charges were brought against seven former El Al security personnel, Avi Peretz, David Dadon, Yaniv Hazan, Lidan Shatui, Asher Mesilti, Yaakov Felician and Rami Yogev, who are accused of smuggling 150kg of cocaine into Israel through Ben Gurion International Airport. The charges included a conspiracy to commit a crime and importing a dangerous drug. Allegedly, the drugs were transported in luggage on flights from South Africa and the men used their credentials to enable the luggage to bypass security checks. The men were arrested in November 2018.

23 JULY 2020: DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Reports emerged that a 23-year-old cleaner at Terminal 2 in Dubai International Airport molested an 8-year-old girl in the toilets on 24 November 2019. He allegedly lured her back into the toilets on the pretence that she did not flush the toilet properly.

22 JULY 2020: AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Anjela Sharma, a lawyer, was ordered to pay Air New Zealand $30,114 for costs and $3,657.21 in disbursements (c. £16,750) after losing a court case she launched against the airline, which had banned her from flying for a year in July 2019.

23 JUNE 2020: LETHBRIDGE, CANADA

The pilot of a King Air 200 aircraft was temporarily blinded by a laser during landing at Lethbridge Airport. The laser hit the aircraft three times.

3 JUNE 2020: DETROIT, MICHIGAN

A US Customs and Border Protection helicopter was targeted by a green laser whilst it was monitoring the protests in Detroit. The laser originated from Windsor in Canada. Authorities in Canada were contacted, and the perpetrator was arrested.

5 MAY 2020: LATVIA

Latvian authorities restricted flights below 19,500ft due to a drone that lost communication and went missing during a test flight. The airspace above Riga International Airport was closed and a flight from China to Tallinn was redirected.

3 MAY 2020: SASKATOON, CANADA

A 30-year-old man was arrested for pointing a green laser at a Saskatoon Police Service's Air Support Unit plane.

5 JULY 2020: PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN

Benish Sadiq, a female Pakistan International Airlines flight attendant was accused of ‘misbehaviour’ when a female doctor at Bacha Khan International Airport demanded samples from her for COVID-19 testing after her arrival on a PIA flight from Abu Dhabi.

7 JUNE 2020: ISRAEL

The Israeli Privacy Protection Authority revealed that a senior flight attendant from an Israeli airline supplied a man with their log-in details to an internal portal for years. The man worked within the aviation industry. The internal portal contained customers’ personal details such as their medical history, VIP customer and frequent flyer information.

7 APRIL 2020: PORT HARCOURT, NIGERIA

A pilot and co-pilot of Caverton Helicopters were arrested after they transported unknown passengers into the state, defying the Rivers state border closure, which was imposed to contain COVID-19.

20 FEBRUARY 2020: MOROCCO

Reports emerged that Royal Air Maroc suspended two of their flight attendants after they took pictures with an adult film star, Valerie Kybad, on a flight in October last year. The picture went viral. Kybad posed provocatively in her underwear in the aircraft’s galley. Royal Air Maroc issued an apology to their customers.

5 JULY 2020: EINDHOVEN, THE NETHERLANDS

Farmers blocked roads leading to Eindhoven Airport in protest of the airport’s nitrogen emissions. Farmers were protesting throughout The Netherlands against agricultural bans and prices of their produce.

2 JULY 2020: LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA

At least 50 airport workers at Ljubljana Airport protested against the proposed redundancies by Fraport Slovenia, which would see about 120 members (a quarter) of their staff made redundant.

26 JUNE 2020: PARIS, FRANCE

Extinction Rebellion protestors disrupted the post-coronavirus reopening of Paris Orly Airport by running onto the runway. They carried red flares onto the runway to alert pilots of their presence on the airfield. 29 protestors were arrested.

9 JUNE 2020: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

Approximately 70 Swissport employees protested outside Brussels Airport after Swissport Belgium was declared bankrupt, threatening 1,500 jobs.

31 JULY 2020: BARKIN LADI, NIGERIA

An employee of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, surnamed ‘Ngor’, was kidnapped by armed men and later killed despite his family having paid a NGN 200,000 (c. £400) ransom.

18 JULY 2020: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA

Nine armed men entered the cargo area at OR Tambo International Airport and stole a PPE delivery and three crates of mobile phones at gunpoint. The police and airport security pursued the thieves and a shootout ensued, resulting in two of the suspects being killed and the other seven arrested. A civilian was injured in the crossfire.

11 JULY 2020: ELDORET, KENYA

Two people were arrested near Eldoret International Airport on suspicion of attempting to carry out an attack on the airport. The authorities stated that they found assorted explosives, detonators, detonating cords, safety fuses and boosters on the suspects.

6 JULY 2020: BAGHDAD, IRAQ

A rocket landed near Baghdad International Airport. There were no reported injuries. The attack followed another attempted rocket fire attack on the US embassy in Baghdad on 5 July, which was repelled by the US air defence system but injured one person when it struck a residential building instead.

21 JULY 2020: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

Armed men broke into Rio de Janeiro International Airport to retrieve an 18-metre balloon that fell onto the runway. Airport security arrived and a shootout ensued. The men escaped on a boat that sailed across the Guanabara Bay. Two people were later arrested.

16 JULY 2020: SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA

Erik Baumle, 31, allegedly stole a Caltran truck from outside an amusement park and crashed it at John Wayne Airport. Baumle had opened the passenger door, thrown his dog into the passenger seat of the vehicle, which startled the driver who swiftly exited the vehicle. Baumle then climbed into the driver’s seat and drove off towards John Wayne Airport, where he entered a car park but managed to get the high-sided Caltran truck stuck between floors of the parking lot.

3 JULY 2020: BRAZZAVILLE, REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

A teenager was caught attempting to stow away on a Hawker 125-800XP jet, which belonged to Executive Aircraft Services S.A., at Maya-Maya airport. The teenager stated that he wanted to escape to Europe to start a new life.

22 JUNE 2020: KEY WEST, FLORIDA

Andrew Toles, 28, the former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder, was arrested at Key West International Airport for trespassing. Toles was found sleeping behind a Federal Express building. He appeared to be homeless and listed the ‘streets of Key West’ as his residence.

1 JUNE 2020: TOKYO, JAPAN

A 61-year-old man drove his van past security and into the aircraft parking area at Narita Airport. The man slipped past security by driving through taxi lanes and gaps for exiting vehicles. He claimed he was unaware that he was trespassing.

27 JULY 2020: PAPHOS, CYPRUS

A female passenger who arrived at Paphos International Airport from Mykonos physically attacked an airport officer after she was randomly selected to undergo COVID-19 testing. The female passenger, who was travelling with her husband and child, protested against the testing. The officer sustained cuts and bruises on her arm. Allegedly, the female passenger was not arrested.

17 JULY 2020: ABUJA, NIGERIA

Safiyanu Abba, head of the DSS at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, slapped an aviation security officer at the airport, which prevented the officer from carrying out further screening on a passenger who had set off the metal detector alarm.

14 JULY 2020: FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA

Danaysha Dixon, 22, Keira Ferguson, 21, and Tymaya Wright, 20, attacked Spirit Airlines employees after they heard that their flight from Fort Lauderdale to Philadelphia was delayed. The women threw various items at the employees, including phones, shoes and water bottles. They then attempted to attack an employee behind the counter. Wright attempted to steal an employee’s mobile phone during the altercation, placing it into her backpack.

1 JULY 2020: ORLANDO, FLORIDA

Emmari Jackson, 21, was arrested at Orlando International Airport for physically assaulting five airline agents. Allegedly, Jackson became aggressive after she was told she had to pay USD $65 (c. £50) excess for her carry-on luggage. She was then told by an airline agent that she could not board the flight due to her behaviour. She threw a bag of shoes at one airline agent and reached over the service desk and hit another. She proceeded to punch another agent in the head and attacked a Spirit Airlines supervisor, jumping on him as he tried to call the police. Another agent arrived to pull her off the supervisor and she then attacked that agent with a dustpan. Jackson attacked an officer at Orange County Jail, claimed that she had COVID-19 and began to cough intentionally at the police station.

1 JULY 2020: MIAMI, FLORIDA

A police officer at Miami Airport, who was responding to an incident involving a woman who was shouting after there was a change to her flight, punched the woman after she berated him and said “you acting like you’re white but you’re really black, what’re you gonna do?” Other officers then intervened and pulled them apart. The officers involved in the altercation were placed under investigation and relieved of duty.

30 JULY 2020: CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Arlinda Johns was removed from an American Airlines flight from Charlotte to St. Louis after becoming hostile towards crew who ordered her to cover her face mask, which bore the words ‘F*** 12’, with another mask. Johns complied with the order but became belligerent, causing the plane to return to the gate. ‘12’ is slang for ‘police’ and Johns alleges she supports the movement to abolish the police in the US.

24 JULY 2020: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

Three men in their 30s were arrested after their flight from Düsseldorf landed in Prague. They had allegedly been singing the Nazi version of the national anthem ‘Das Deutschlandlied’ during the flight.

23 JULY 2020: DETROIT, MICHIGAN

A Delta flight from Detroit Metro Airport to Atlanta was forced to return to Detroit to offload two unruly passengers who refused to wear face masks.

4 AUGUST 2020: BORYSPIL, UKRAINE

Reports emerged that a fuel pipe leading to Boryspil International Airport was tampered with in order for fuel to be stolen. The damaged pipe was located in an area outside the airport on farmland.

31 JULY 2020: VIROQUA, WISCONSIN

Matthew A. Clark broke into Viroqua Municipal Airport and stole a car. He drove through the garage door, damaging it. A police chase ensued and Clark was arrested near Readstown.

30 JULY 2020: SANGER, TEXAS

Two trike aircraft were stolen in Sanger while they were being hauled by truck to their new owners in Florida. The truck broke down on the way and needed to be towed to Corinth for repairs. The truck driver was told to leave the trailer containing the two aircraft at the breakdown site and when he returned 1.5 days later, it was gone.

23 JULY 2020: JFK, NEW YORK

Juan Idrovo, a taxi driver who was picking up a woman from a hotel at JFK, refused to drive her to her destination because she did not have a face mask. She responded by swearing and throwing her drink over the backseat of the car. As Idrovo was cleaning up the mess, the woman returned, insulted him, spat in his face and an altercation ensued. Both Idrovo and the passenger were arrested.

LEAD EDITORIAL

BY PHILIP BAUM

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

EASING LOCKDOWN’S EASEMENT: THE LESSON FROM AVIATION SECURITY HISTORY by Philip Baum

This September marks the 50th anniversary of the multiple hijacking of aircraft to Dawson’s Field in Jordan by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The atrocity provided one of the most iconic and renowned images from aviation security history, the PFLP having ensured the world’s media were on hand to record the simultaneous destruction of the TWA, Swissair and BOAC aircraft on, what they called, their ‘Revolutionary Airstrip’.…

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