The attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253 on Christmas day of 2009 has once again issued the ominous reminder that aviation is vulnerable and that there is a compelling need for a global security culture that recognizes and applies uniform global security standards. The first step toward achieving this objective is the realization by the aviation community of new and emerging threats to aviation and the need to share information. Since the event, several countries have imposed stringent security standards at airports and initiated inter-governmental meetings to discuss closer cooperation among States in the hope that such measures will effectively respond to the threat. Both International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) took immediate measures after the event in issuing statements and called for a closer look by States at their security measures and a re-assessment of available responses to threats posed to aviation.
It is now abundantly clear that collection and sharing of information, improvement of technology, and strengthening of security standards are critical in addressing the problem of unlawful interference with civil aviation. Other aspects such as curbing the financing of terrorism, taking a closer look at the responsibility of States, and increasing vigilance on a global scale are also significant considerations. This article takes a critical look at the issues at hand and makes some suggestions.Air and Space Law