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How Secure Are Airports In Africa & The Middle-East?

May 24, 2016

The mystery of the EgyptAir crash deepened – Details of the jet’s final three minutes were revealed yesterday via a flurry of automatic electronic messages showing a rapid loss of control. Submarines are searching for the black box this week.
You know how some travelers get their bags shrink wrapped because of theft concerns relating to the airports they’re flying to or through? These smaller crimes and corruption at airports could be an indicator of a much larger security problem.
Authorities say negligent oversight of airport employees and slipshod screening of passengers in some Middle East and African airports are being taken advantage of that should alarm allnations that fly to those areas.
If the disappearance of EgyptAir flight MS804 is discovered to be the work of terrorists, it will be the fourth attack in the past year on air travelers in North African and Middle-Eastern countries.
The plane crisscrossed the Middle East, Africa and Europe. From its hub in Cairo, it flew to Brussels and back on Tuesday, followed by a round-trip to Asmara, Eritrea, in East Africa. On Wednesday, it flew in and out of Tunis before traveling to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, and left again for Cairo that evening with 66 passengers and crew, according to flight records.
Metrojet Flight 9268 – Russia confirmed bomb caused downed plane in Egypt, Oct. 31, 2015

The investigation involves passenger screening, baggage and cargo, starting with Paris and extending to all the airports. 

French authorities are checking surveillance footage at Charles de Gaulle, focusing specifically on who had contact with the aircraft and the baggage loaded onto the plane. From cabin cleaners and caterers to pilots and passengers, hundreds of people were close enough to the plane to be dangerous.
Stamping Out Corruption

The airport tragedy in Brussels in March raised red flags on the lack of security for Africa and Middle-Eastern aviation.
At least two of the previous attacks in the region were said by local authorities to involve airport employees who used their positions to bypass security, including October’s bombing of a jet carrying Russian tourists home from an Egyptian beach resort and an incident in February where explosives in a laptop blew a hole in a Somali plane.

Shortly after leaving Mogadishu Airport a loud bang was heard in the cabin. There was a loss of pressurization and the plane made an emergency landing back at the airport. A large hole was observed in the side of the fuselage. A bomb inside a laptop was detonated in the cabin. The bomber was sucked out of the plane and killed. Feb. 2, 2016.

Before the October 31st bombing of Metrojet Flight 9268, which was flying from Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, to Saint Petersburg, Russia, Security guards at Sharm el-Sheikh airport took cash from tourists to help them skip security. Airport employees are suspected of helping terrorists plant a bomb on the plane.

The al-Shabab terrorist group in Somalia used similar tactics to slip a bomb aboard Daallo Airlines Flight 3159 in Mogadishu on February 2nd. An explosive inside a laptop blew out the side of the plane as it was climbing to cruise altitude, killing the man who had carried it aboard. The Airbus A321 stayed intact and pilots landed safely a short time later.

The Nigerian newspaper This Day reported that corruption is rampant among its airport security and check points that could allow terrorists gain entry to the terminals.
“It calls into question the airports in that region,” said John Halinski, the former deputy administrator of the US Transportation Security Administration. “It’s something that needs to be looked at not just in those countries, but in any country that flies into that country.”
Sabotaging Planes At The Airport
It is hard to get an explosive device through security, but it’s not that hard to get a job at the airport said Jeffrey Price, author of several certification programs on aviation security and airport management.
0n March 7th, another bomb in a laptop exploded as a crowd was being examined at a security checkpoint at the Beledweyne airport in central Somalia, injuring several people, according to news reports.

EgyptAir Was Aware of Threats to Security, Including One Scribbled on Plane

Ironically, the EyptAir jetliner that plunged into the Mediterranean on Thursday was once the target of political vandals who wrote in Arabic on its underside, “We will bring this plane down.”

The threatening graffiti, which appeared about two years ago, had been the work of aviation workers at Cairo Airport. The graffiti had been linked to the domestic Egyptian political situation at the time rather than to a militant threat. 

The Daily Star revealed 57 airport staff at Charles de Gaulle Airport were on a terror watch list but had access to airplanes last Friday.

Passengers to Obama: You Can Fix This Problem Now
Congress Tackles TSA Lines 
The House Homeland Security Committee holds not one but two days of hearings on TSA wait times. 
Tuesday: The House Appropriations Committee holds a markup of the FY2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill, and the Senate Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee holds a markup of the FY2017 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act.
Wednesday: The House Homeland Security Committee holds a hearing on “Long Lines, Short Patience: The TSA Airport Screening Experience.” 
Thursday: The House Homeland Security Transportation Security Subcommittee holds a second hearing on the TSA airport screening experience. The Ripon Society hosts a breakfast discussion with House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul and Reps. Will Hurd and John Katko.
DURBIN TALKS TSA WOES: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) offered an update on his Friday tete-a-tete with TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger about airport security wait times: “The message that I brought from this is, ‘Congress needs to be part of the solution.’ For the [Members of Congress] to be criticizing what’s going on here without accepting our responsibility is wrong, and it’s our responsibility … to make certain that we have the screening capacity to keep up with passenger flow in the United States of America.” He also had some encouraging words for TSA staff, who are likely suffering from low morale: “We have said a lot of things about a lot of possibilities and changes but it should not detract from our respect for these men and women and the hard work that they do every single day.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) declared last week in a statement that “if travelers do not have relief by Memorial Day, TSA Administration Neffenger must resign and be replaced with a leader who can provide fast and secure screening.”
AIRLINES JUMP ON PRECHECK EXPANSION: TSA PreCheck is being expanded to include customers of Aeromexico, Cape Air, Etihad Airways and Seaborne Airlines who are eligible. Sixteen air carriers now participate in PreCheck – a number that may increase even further as TSA administrators clamor to find low-cost methods of expediting security screening wait times at the nation’s airports.

Read more:

Your Letters!
Dear FlyersRights:
I recently took a Delta flight from Montreal to Minneapolis. I had originally scheduled it for 7 AM but over a period of 3 months, it was pushed back to 6 AM. This meant a $45 taxi instead of public transportation. 
On my pre-printed boarded pass, it said to arrive at the airport at least 3 hours in advance. I doubted that the airport was open and called Delta to check. I was told that it didn’t open until 3:30. So, I arrived at 3:25 and found the hall full of people waiting in line. At 3:30 the machines started but no actual personnel in sight. They began to drift in at 4:00 – first one for Priority and then, gradually, others. The lines were a mess and extremely confusing. After finally dropping off my bags about 4:15, I advanced to the big security hall, already bursting at the seams, because they didn’t start screening until 4:30. During the wait for security screening, two people fainted – middle of the night awakening, no breakfast, already an hour of standing and waiting with no food or drink available. These were also ideal conditions for terrorists – we were sitting ducks. 
Why, when one idiot tried to light a bomb in his shoe, we all immediately had to take off our shoes, but after Brussels, where terrorists exploded bombs in the pre-security area, it hasn’t made any difference?
I also had TSA Pre-check on my boarding pass but it doesn’t exist in Montreal. Or doesn’t exist at 5 AM in any case. Why pay $85 for something that doesn’t always work? And in any case, is mostly useless. I don’t believe they have caught any terrorists in 15 years. 
I would love to blame Delta (change of schedule) but in this case, I think it was a combination of the Montreal airport being too small for the number of flights and the security – is it still the TSA in Canada?
TSA has wasted so much of their money on useless/dangerous/stupid machines and procedures. They don’t seem to be accountable to anybody. My personal feeling is that they should eliminate it completely and start over with some intelligent people who aren’t driven by greed/panic/politics.
Thanks for letting me vent – and also, thanks for existing.
Editor’s note: 
The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority is responsible for securing the air transportation system – from passenger and baggage screening to screening airport workers.
CATSA is mandated with protecting the public through effective and efficient screening of air travellers and their baggage. Our goal is to provide a professional, effective and consistent level of security service across the country, at or above the standards set by Transport Canada.
CATSA was the centerpiece of the Government of Canada’s response to the events of September 11, 2001.  – See more at:

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