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Airport Security

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Airports are important installations to the economy of any country. They act as the routes that
facilitate movement into the country. Based on the important role that they play, they attract the
attention of all kinds of people. However, it should be noted that the use of these facilities is
determined by their safety and security. Many nations across the world have invested in airports
so as to attract more people towards using them.
Over the years, airport security has been a major concern since it ensures that the safety of the
public while traveling. Besides, it also prevents the failure of the airline companies
economically. Mills Patrick argues that, certain security procedures have been initiated to put
off, prevent and act in response to various criminal acts that would otherwise compromise the
safety of the public (16). Security has further been enhanced over the years as a result of the
upsurge in terrorism, drug trafficking and escape of fugitives who are avoiding justice in their
home countries.

The security of the airports should be competent and give the public an assurance of safe trips. In
fact, it is important that the airlines provide the public with information on the measures that they
have undertaken to curb crime in their areas of operations. Airport security is aimed at protecting
our nation from the threats of drug smuggling, hijacking of planes and influx of fugitives running
away from justice in their home countries.
Airport security is targeted at assuring the public of their safety and also that of their goods. It
tries to protect the image of the country in the event of illegal transportation of drugs,
immigration and even terrorism. Different countries employ various measures of enhancing
security at the airports. A good number notably have special police force mandated with ensuring
the safety of passengers and their goods, as well as the aircraft. Some of these security strategies
include government policies aimed at creating security passes that people have to go through
before they board any plane.
Foremost, airport security has put in place effective measures to prevent the smuggling of drugs.
Every airport is equipped with a dedicated police force and dog unit, used in the detection and
obtaining possible drugs hidden in the luggage of passengers. The police force is used in
conducting body searches on possible suspects to ensure that no drugs are smuggled across the
borders via the airports.
Besides, the luggage is usually passed through screening by x-ray systems before they are
packed into the airplanes. Passengers also have to pass through the x-ray systems to make sure
that none carries drugs in their bodies. Prevention of drug trafficking makes the whole process of
passenger boarding faster and also assists the government in preventing the menace of drug
smuggling across the globe.
For instance, in September 1, 2013, Colombian police arrested a foreign woman at one of their
airports. The woman who pretended to be pregnant was caught trying to smuggle cocaine in a
plastic belly that showed she was 7 months pregnant. One of the people involved in the screening
process touched her stomach and felt a cold and stiff swelling that is not usually associated with
pregnancy. On further screening, it was later found out that the bulge in her stomach was a
plastic bowl with 2 kilos of cocaine. With an ineffective security system in the airports, such
tricks could easily be successful. Her acts show the changing trends by traffickers to smuggle
drugs into the country.
This calls for an improvement in the security system to help in handling such incidences. Many
of the traffickers have been scared by the screening that is usually done at the airports and this
has pushed them to coming up with new other means with quite a number of them avoiding
airports today. This is a great achievement on the part of those concerned with airport security.
Airport security has also put in place, measures aimed at preventing the hijacking of airplanes
and consequent attacks by terrorists. These two are among the major concerns for most people
who travel through our airports. According to St John P. Air Piracy, this happened because
of the September 11 attack, which saw hijacking of airplanes that resulted into the death of the
passengers. Airport securities have made improvements on this through setting up metal
detectors to prevent passengers from boarding planes with metal objects.

Besides, airport authorities have also outlined the kinds of objects that can be allowed and those
that are illegal for passengers to have in the airplanes. With this, the screening process is made
even much faster and easier. The airport security personnel also use dogs and explosive drugdetection portal machines for detecting and uncovering explosives in the luggage of passengers.
With this, the passengers can be assured of safety in the trips and arrival at their destinations
without the threats of attacks.
The biggest terrorist attack in the US was the aircraft hijacked orientation. The crash at the
World Trade Center in New York City and the Ministry of Defense (Pentagon) on September 11
2001 remain etched in the US history. The first two planes used in the attack destroyed the two
Trade Center towers while the third one crashed parts of the Ministry of Defense building while
the fourth one crashed into the field in Somerset County in Pennsylvania. As a result of these
terrorist attacks, many lives were lost.
The use of metal detectors is a common practice in many airports across the world and metallic
objects are generally not allowed in planes. The security checks are done before the passengers
go through the gates for boarding the planes. These are known as airsides. In order to avoid
recurring unnecessary checks, passengers are released into these areas as soon as they leave the
planes. The process applies to both local and international travelers. The area is restricted to only
those who are boarding the planes or deplaning. Even the friends and families of passengers are
not allowed into the screening section for purposes of security. This restriction has enhanced the
screening process.
However, it also occurs that the airport staff can be the problem. If the staff is not well prepared
for the task, they can leave loopholes that could threaten security. In order to curb such instances,
the airports have ensured that all their staff members maintain high levels of work ethics and
integrity. As a result of this, the staff has been able to significantly reduce the cases of illegal
immigration, smuggling of illegal substances among others by counter checking passengers. The
installation of CCTV cameras at the airports has also been instrumental in helping the staff to
trace offenders and bring them to justice.
Airport security has also invested in equipment used in the prevention of fugitives from running
away from justice. The security apparatus have face detection machines used for scanning faces
and making comparisons with law enforcement databases in order to ensure that the planes do
not carry criminals. Scanners are used and all the passengers passports are screened to make
sure that each is given clearance to board the flight.
Special police teams have further been placed in airports to make sure that potential fugitives are
arrested on sight without interruption of the normal airport functions. This gives the police an
easier time in capturing fugitives who plan to leave the country through the airports. For
example, NSA leaker Snowden gets asylum and leaves Russia airport. Fugitive Edward Snowden
has left the Russian airport transit area where he has been hiding for the past one month. Russia
granted a one year asylum to American fugitive Edward Snowden, allowing the former United
States spy agency contractor to quietly move out of Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow after
being in hiding for more than five weeks but angering America.

Airport security shields the country from the fugitives that may want to destroy the nation. The
incident that could have passed unnoticed if the security had not put in place measures to prevent
such activities has been condemned by many. When it comes to traveling, international relations
have been a major issue. In nations that are perceived to be insecure, countries have issued travel
advisories to their citizens. This has pushed many countries to improve the security of their
airports in order to attract many people. A sense of security at the airports helps in reassuring
passengers that their safety is well taken care of. Failure to uphold this, a country can lose a
significant number of international flights.
Countries like the United States do not allow direct flights from countries that they consider as
potential security threats. Planes from such countries have to go through other countries with
enhanced security systems before they get access to American soil. This has forced other nations
to enhance their general security in order to have direct flights. American airports are
safeguarded by a multi-system approach so as to give priority to passenger safety.
People have varied opinions about the time that should be spent on security checks with some
viewing it as a waste of time and others seeing it as a necessary procedure. According to some
people, security apparatus need to identify the potential criminals and allow those known to be of
good conduct. However, this can only create a gap that can be used in disguise by criminals.
Because of the long queues at the screening points, the American airport authority has come up
with new methods of reducing them. Some airports conduct the passenger screening process
through observation techniques.
It should be noted that despite the measures put in place by airport security agents, there still
have been several incidences across the globe. Most of these incidences have been linked to
security lapses at the airports. Thus, countries should focus on continuous improvement of
security measures in order to stop them. The use of enhanced equipment and trained personnel
could be instrumental in reducing unnecessary dangers to the passengers and give them the
assurance of their security.
To conclude on this topic, it is important that airport security is effective to make sure that
passengers are safe through prevention of aspects like terrorism, hijacking of planes, drug
smuggling and escape of fugitives. The police should continuously support airport security by
offering workforce, weapons and equipment required for ensuring that drugs are not trafficked
across the borders. They are also ideal in ensuring that flights are safe for use by passengers
without threatened by the risk of being hijacked.
If this is ensured, security will be maintained and passengers will have a guarantee of safety. The
links within nations could also help in improving airport security. This can be done by sharing of
intelligence and having good relations. However, it should be noted that security begins with the
passengers themselves. Each should report anything that they find suspicious to the respective
authorities immediately (Moore, 1991). To wrap it up, efficient management of the security
situation can also help in restoring the faith of passengers in using airports since security has a
direct impact on the countrys economy.

Works Cited
St, John P. Air Piracy, Airport Security, and International Terrorism: Winning the War against
Hijackers. New York: Quorum Books, 1991. Print.
Mills, Patrick. Airport Security. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale Cengage Learning, 2012.
Moore, Kenneth C. Airport, Aircraft, and Airline Security. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann,
1991.
Print. Web. 28 September. 2013. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latinamerica-24058118>
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