|Vol.7, No.34, 20.9.01, p25
PASSENGER planes could soon be fitted with remote-control devices allowing ground-based pilots to fly them to safety in the event of a hijack.
This is just one of the ideas under discussion as Union governments consider possible security measures in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks against the US. "It's one of the more extreme ideas being talked about," said an EU aviation insider, "but it's technically feasible."
Remote-intervention systems are already under development at the University of Delft in the Netherlands, and the US Air Force has F-4 fighter-bombers that fly by remote control. However, sealed cockpits and on-board security guards are measures more likely to be agreed by member states in time for next week's meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Increased security is already in place across Europe following last week's attacks, and transport ministers have pledged to implement minimum standards set out in 'Document 30' of the European Civil Aviation Conference.
But as ministers have vowed to table further proposals at the ICAO meeting, which begins next Tuesday (25 September), some airlines are warning against an over-zealous response to the crisis. "We absolutely have to have a very high level of security," said Andrew Cahn, British Airways' director of government and industry affairs. "But we don't accept we should necessarily have to have identical measures to the US. We might achieve the same or higher levels of security by other means."
The Brussels-based Association of European Airlines has written to EU transport chief Loyola de Palacio to voice its concerns that the new security measures should be "efficient" and "cost-effective".
Passenger planes could soon be fitted with remote-control devices allowing ground-based pilots to fly them to safety in the event of a hijack.
|Mobility and Transport