Transportation Of Cargo On Passenger Aircraft

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Pages: 10

Transportation of Cargo on Passenger Aircraft
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

This paper provides information into the lack of aviation security with regard to cargo transported on passenger aircraft. Passengers and their luggage traveling on aircraft are subject to screening, security searches and body scanning prior to boarding. However, the cargo loaded may not have been inspected, allowing for potential security vulnerabilities to be exploited. Currently international flights do not receive the same caliber of cargo inspection as domestic flights. There are too many holes in the global supply chain but one area that we need to focus on is cargo security. The TSA has implemented layered security for all flights
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aviation officials have been pressing the European Union to require X-raying every package placed on passenger planes. To date, the U.S. has met resistance because of the costs and logistics involved in screening such a large amount of cargo. According to Philip Baum, editor of Aviation Security International, X-ray machines are not an effective tool to screen bulk cargo because of the large size and number of the items that need to be inspected (Kass, & Yamanouchi, 2010).
Another concern to aviation security is cargo tracking and who handles the cargo. Packages have multiple points that must be analyzed, such as point of origin, shipper’s name, and specific contents. As a piece of cargo moves along the supply chain, visibility is reduced, resulting in cargo becoming susceptible to tampering (Vinsik, 2011). All it takes is for one person to have the right connection and an improvised explosive device can make it on a plane.
The air cargo system’s vulnerabilities have been in question for years. The Center for American Progress, released a report in 2007 on air cargo security stating, “Placing a bomb in a commercial shipment via global supply chains is an obvious and feasible means to bring down a U.S. airliner without having to board it or even enter the United States” (Juul, 2010). This is why the U.S. must have a program in place to ensure only verified safe cargo is placed on passenger aircraft. There are vulnerabilities that can be