Yesterday was September 11, 2013, twelve years since the terrorist attacks of the hijackings of four airplanes that changed the way everyone sees the world.
The attacks caused major changes in the field of aviation security that can easily be felt firsthand if you ever buy plane ticket and attempt to board your flight.
Through a unique partnership between government, industry, and labor aviation security has morphed into an organic animal constantly works at being proactive at thwarting the ever-changing threat of America's security and safety.
Aviation security has adequately transitioned into a more human-centered, and threat-driven security system that seeks to keep passengers, aviation employees, and citizens in general safe by shifting away from detection and interdiction of threats tunnel-vision.
Airport and airline employees are the “eyes and ears” of security. There are five things that airlines, and even airports, can do to net significant changes in catering to passengers.
Below are three other options:
1. Fees. This ancillary revenue, as named by the airline industry, is known by the laymen as nickel-and-diming, is what many believe is overkill. There are dozens of fees for everything from picking a seat, changing a flight, having luggage that too heavy, or even something as rational as checking a bag. But its the hidden fees that seem to drive most people the craziest. Washington Henry Saxon says he's ok with most fees, but feel airlines fees should be more transparent. "They should a better job of keeping us informed," he said.
2. Decreased industry. Domestic carriers have dealt with 14 major mergers and acquisitions since 2001, and in that time some well-known brands like Continental, Northwest, and TWA have died out.
3. Declining workforce. With Americans only having three major airlines to service 300 million plus people, many airlines are deciding to downsize their full-time airline employees, and convert several full-time positions to part-time, or phase out jobs to companies overseas. Tens of thousands of people have been laid-off since September 11, 2001.
4. Congestion. There have been more delays and cancellations in the airline industry, yet, airplanes are more full than any time since World War II. These crowded planes and crowded taxiways, runways, and airways has resulted in 53 percent of all departures now operated by regional affiliates, which causes longer waits.
5. Security. Easily, the most noticeable change in the airline industry has been security changes. Some travelers believe the beleaguered Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is ineffective and lacks adequate customer service skills, and recommends that the agency invests more time in learning how to accommodate for the uniqueness of the traveler and less time trying to purposely be imposing and controlling.
Many of the items listed were part of the discussion at this year's NextGen Ahead conference which was held in Washington, D.C. In fact, one of the sessions dealt with the wider usage of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals at airports and aboard airplanes that has led to signal interference and jamming. GPS systemizing is an essential part of airport safety and security, and increased studies have shown it to be a key element of air traffic modernization that must be better protected.
This particular session covered frequency interruptions and weak bandwidth strength, security concerns and present mitigation strategies on deliberate interference, potential back-up systems for the GPS constellation, and most importantly, alternatives and other GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System).
The panel that dealt with this issue was moderated by Jim Miller, Deputy Director, Policy & Strategic Communications, NASA.
Captain Joe Burns, Managing Director, Technology and Flight Test, United Airlines; Mitchell Narins, Chief Systems Engineer - Navigation Programs, FAA; and Scott Pace, Director, Space Policy Institute and Professor, Practice in International Affairs, George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, all served on the panel.