Bomb plot fails but terror still rules
26 / 06 / 2012
AL Qaeda’s thwarted bomb plot has ignited the fires of fear, almost as much as if the plot had succeeded. Now, panicking governments are threatening the aviation industry with financially crippling screening requirements.
The two bombs, disguised as printer cartridges, were smuggled into the logistics chain last week. One was found on a UPS freighter at East Midlands Airport (UK) while the other was discovered at FedEx’s Dubai depot.
Both were sent from Yemen to Jewish synagogues in Chicago (US), although it more likely they were to be exploded in flight rather than on delivery.
Security experts estimate there was enough of the explosive – pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) – to bring down 50 jets.
This week, the UK banned all airfreight from Yemen, something the Yemeni government has protested as being unnecessary.
While we still do not know how the governments will react it is likely that more stringent cargo screening will be demanded.
Currently, swabbing cargo is the best way to detect most explosives, but to implement that on the millions of pieces of cargo that are shipped everyday would bring an end to the industry as we know it.
While it is achievable, to do so would inevitably push many shippers and possibly airlines, out of business. Perhaps there are ways, given enough time and investment, but, as is ominously likely, the collected governments are likely to demand implementation immediately rather than over a reasonable period of time.
Let us hope that calm heads prevail.