March 24, 2009

Airport Security in the Spotlight- Again

Just weeks after a security scare involving two young kids transporting bagfuls of weapons on flights across the country, the ugly side of Sydney's gang warfare has exploded in the public areas of Sydney Airport.

Yesterday, members of two rival bikie gangs got into a brawl in the domestic airport terminal, bashing each other with metal barrier bollards and resulting in one man dead, with many bystanders injured and airport workers & passengers deeply traumatised.

Of course, the incident has raised questions about airport security, namely- what if these had been 20 gun-toting terrorists, and they had got away with a rampage through the terminal for the same 10 minutes, but targeting any and all, not just one victim?

Obviously there is going to be a huge investigation on this. Now as usually happens, the police were the first to be criticised. I think, if anything, this highlights just how under-resourced and underpaid they are. Even the four or 6 uniformed specialist airport cops one regularly sees in the departures area couldn't have stopped this. So it begs the question- just how much is enough? Some commenters mention airports such as Changi, Chek Lap Kok and Heathrow, with machine gun-toting anti-terrorist officers as an example.

It will be interesting to see how it all actually panned out, if/when the CCTV footage is released.

In other sad news for aviation, a FedEx MD-11 has crashed at Tokyo's Narita airport, killing both flight crew on board. I suppose the only 'good' thing about it is that it was a cargo jet, and not full of passengers. Still, very sad. I thought the video was a fake when someone emailed it to me. I'm not going to post it here, but you could probably Google it if it interests you to see it. All I'll say is, there are sure some interesting last moments for the investigators to look at.


  1. the video of the FedEx crash is already being shown on news programs everywhere, and pprune has links to different, zoomed in, versions.

    It was bad enough we got the restrictions to the gate areas after 911, I hope they don't now restrict ALL terminal areas! It's really getting ridiculous. Just like the schools, so far the schools in Germany are NOT restricted, but after the school shootout on March 11 with 15 dead they might have to start introducing it. :-(

  2. Just when you think things are going to quiet down for flying - I have just about quit.

  3. We have armed police covering the airport, but they can't be everywhere at once i can see the whole airport being a restricted place soon with x-rays on the doors into the check in halls itself!

  4. That shit at Sydney airport was crazy. What the Hell is happening in this country!

  5. I have always thought it weird that we don't have to show IDs at the airport. Especially with e-tickets. You can book the tickets under any name, therefore escape police scrutiny or any red-flags.

  6. Kimmy, I've always had a problem with that too. AT my last airline, it was a requirement to show photo ID when checking in, they didn't use those silly kiosks. Sure they save time, but they take out the screening component.

    My other concern is that there is no human to question passengers on their luggage, of course they're all going to press NO when asked if they are carrying dangerous goods!

  7. Help me out here -- did they bring weapons INTO the terminal, or grab what was there and use it for a weapon? If the latter, screening not an issue...behavior is. I don't see what machine gun toting police could do that glock toting police could not. If you drop one or two people who are bashing someone with a pole with a glock, I doubt the rest will charge you, frankly. Anyhow, it took some of the publicity away from the tail stike down there.

  8. Hello Traytable, it's JAL girl again.
    Thank you for mentioning the Narita crash. So many people didn't even hear about it on my side of the world (I'm European crew for JAL, not Japan-based). I was due to fly that day. When they reopened the runway the next day we had to take off right next to the scorched grass & the bits of aircraft (which they'd moved slightly further back to begin investigations, but still parallel to the runway).
    I've never seen a plane crash in real life before. All a bit too close for comfort really.
    Anyway.. I read your latest post & i also have plenty of reserves & a few standbys for April :( Got my fingers crossed for a call out, or else i'll be so bored!
    Safe flying & thank you again.xx


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