Since the onset of the screening of passengers and their carry-on baggage in 1973 to combat hijackings, the number of hijackings in the United States has been brought to zero. A team effort by the carriers and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) played a significant role in the elimination of the problem.
Technology developed in the 1970s for airport passenger screening is being pushed beyond its limits in an attempt to detect improvised explosive devices. As we wait for the next generation of technology to appear, we are forced to rely on a combination of overlapping and expensive procedures designed to find the “needle in the haystack.”
A solution may be the blending of present technologies to meet the threat in aviation today. We must not find ourselves in the situation where the cost of the technologies is not justified in relation to risk. The public will surely be a barometer in this evolving and sensitive process.
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