Danielle's Cabin Crew Blog
Aircraft hijacking (also known as skyjacking and aircraft piracy) is the unlawful seizure of an aircraft by force, either by an individual or a group.

In most cases the pilot is forced to fly according to the orders of the hijackers.

However, in the September 11, 2001 attacks, the hijackers flew the aircraft themselves. In one case, the official pilot hijacked the plane, when he diverted his internal Air China flight to Taiwan.

Unlike the hijacking of land vehicles or ships, skyjacking is usually not perpetrated in order to rob the cargo. Most aircraft hijackings are committed to use the passengers as hostages in an effort to obtain transportation to a given location.

A 2000 Afghan hijacking of an internal flight, diverted to Britain, successfully gained political asylum for the hijackers.

Other hijackers may hold the passengers to ransom.

The 1971 hijacking of an American plane by D. B. Cooper to gain a ransom $200,000 is one of the only unsolved hijackings in the world, another being Malaysia Airlines Flight 653.

Another common motive is publicity for some cause or grievance. Since the use of hijacked planes as suicide missiles in the September 11 attacks, hijacking is treated as a different kind of security threat — though similar usages had apparently been attempted by Samuel Byck in 1974 and on Air France Flight 8969 in 1994.

Hijackings for hostages have usually followed a pattern of negotiations between the hijackers and the authorities, followed by some form of settlement - but does not always meet with the hijackers' original demands.

If the hijackers' show no sign of surrendering, armed forces would storm the aircraft to rescue the hostages.

The first recorded aircraft hijack was on February 21, 1931, in Arequipa, Peru. Byron Rickards flying a Ford Tri-Motor was approached on the ground by armed revolutionaries. He refused to fly them anywhere and after a ten day stand-off Rickards was informed that the revolution was successful and he could go in return for giving one of their number a lift to Lima. Most hijackings have not been so farcical.

Since September 11, cockpit doors on most commercial airlines have been strengthened, and are now bullet resistant. In the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and France, air marshals have also been added to some flights to deter and thwart hijackers. In addition, some have proposed remote control systems for aircraft whereby no one on board would have control over the plane's flight. Airport security plays a major role in preventing hijackers.

Screening passengers with metal detectors and luggage with x-ray machines prevents weapons from being taken on to an aircraft, and the Israelis alone implement decompression on all luggages to check for detonation sensors.

Along with the FAA, the FBI also monitors terror suspects, and any person who is a threat to civil aviation is banned from flying.

In the case of a serious risk that an aircraft will be used for flying into a target, it may have to be shot down, killing all passengers and crew, to prevent more serious consequences.

Several states have stated that they would shoot down hijacked commercial aircraft if it can be assumed that the hijackers intend to use the aircraft in a 9/11-style attack, despite killing innocent passengers onboard. According to reports, US fighter pilots have been training to shoot down hijacked commercial airliners should it become necessary. Other countries such as Poland and India have enacted laws or decrees that allow the shooting down of hijacked planes.

In a widely regarded decision by the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, in February 2006, it struck down a law - "Luftsicherheitsgesetz" or "Air security law" - claiming such preventive measures were unconstitutional and would essentially be state-sponsored murder, even if such an act would save many more lives on the ground. The main reasoning behind this decision was that the state would be effectively taking the lives of innocent hostages in order to avoid a terrorist attack. The Court also ruled that the Minister of Defense is constitutionally not entitled to act in terrorism matters, as this is the duty of the state and federal police forces.
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1 Response
  1. Anonymous Says:

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