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Horizon Air Plane theft, crash makes cracks in airport security



The theft of a Horizon Air passenger plane from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday exposed the security loopholes in air traffic that persisted even after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Www.mjfriendship.de/de/index.php?op…27&Itemid=47 An airline that took off by plane and then crashed on a sparsely populated island in Puget Sound remains unanswered , But experts say there will be a rethink about how aircraft can be secured at airports.

The employee, a man who had worked at Horizon Air for 3 ½ years, was a ground service agent and, according to the airline, did not have a pilot's license.

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Horizon Air's parent company investigates what needs to be done if something needs to be changed, said Alaska's Chief Executive, Brad Tilden, on Saturday a press conference: "It's also way too early to say what additional procedures we could implement."

Before the crash, the man who flew the plane had "incredible maneuvers," said Horizon Air CEO Gary Beck. Air traffic controllers tracked the man's stunts over the Seattle area as they tried to make him land the plan off populated areas.

Airlines generally have no locks on their doors or require keys to start. While there are aircraft securing procedures, the US aviation industry typically focuses on securing airfields and authorizes employees with appropriate qualifications to work there.

"This is an airline, an internal security issue," said Jeff Price, an aviation security consultant. "We need to get out of traditional aviation security where we think more screening and more surveillance and more police will solve this problem."

The Horizon Air employee, who died according to local authorities, was part of a crew tasked with hauling aircraft and permission to be in the area where the 76-seat Bombardier Q400 was deployed was parked.

Most airlines have rules on how aircraft should be stored overnight to the carrier. Typically, the doors should be secured. When parked near a gate, the passenger bridges should be moved away from the aircraft. The wheels on ready-to-fly plans should also be closed, experts say.

When airplanes are parked overnight – in or near maintenance areas – caterers, mechanics, and cleaning crews have routine access. They know how to open doors when needed.

But to fly an airplane, someone would need to know a complicated sequence of tasks that include refueling, starting engines, and programming the flight computer.

Aircraft are not groped like a car, "Mr. Tilden said." There is no ignition key as it would be on a car. "

In some cases, airline employees may have special training and authorization to aircraft around the airport A former senior airport official based in New York City, these employees have no pilots, but are limited in their ability to operate aircraft controls when being pulled by small vehicles on the airport.

Since the terrorist attacks of 11. In September, airlines, federal security and law enforcement agencies drew attention and spent tens of billions of dollars to plug gaping holes in aviation security.

At large and small airports, emphasis was placed on installing improved fencing and using more advanced motion detectors and other sensors for detection placed by invaders.

Likewise, security experts in the US and other countries have publicly warned of dangers from members of terrorist groups or "lone fighters" pretending to be airline or airport employees. The result was more rigorous employee screening, tighter employee ID badges, increased access point verification, and more frequent exercises to test and verify these systems.

Airport security experts say that employees play an important role in the defense line. Airlines should have anonymous reporting systems that could indicate unusual management behavior, Price said.

Aviation security officials have become increasingly concerned about insider threats.

This risk was tragically highlighted more than three years ago

Andreas Lübitz,

a 27-year-old Germanwings co-pilot, has deliberately crashed a jet plane and killed all 150 people on board. Lubitz had been treated for suicidal thoughts before the crash, but had kept his conditions secret from the airline. European aviation security officers adopted pilot mental health rules in response last month.

In the US, regulators and airlines are working on voluntary reporting programs designed to encourage employees with mental health problems or addiction problems to seek help. Other workers are also encouraged to inform management about the difficulties that colleagues face.

In February 2016, one person died in the alleged bombing of an Airbus SE A321 aircraft leaving Mogadishu, for which the Islamic State assumed responsibility. Somali officials said the bomber had been assisted by two people disguised as airport workers.

The Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Aviation Administration have now refined methods of coordinating and combating jet fighters to investigate and possibly prevent hostile acts by hijacked aircraft

about 1,800 sections of civil aircraft since September 2001 Only a small percentage of these missions involved commercial aircraft. These cases typically involved pilots who were unable to maintain radio contact with the controllers. The vast majority of sections were triggered by private pilots who were lost, disoriented, or flying into limited airspace.

On Friday, the military confused two F-15 jets to intercept the rogue plane.

Write to Andrew Tangel to Andrew.Tangel@wsj.com, Robert Wall to robert.wall@wsj.com and Andy Pasztor to andy.pasztor @ wsj.com


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