Karachi Airport Attack A Trend?

June 12, 2014

As I type this, the big news is the Taliban attack on the airport in Karachi, Pakistan. Is this the way it is to be? Will airports be the new target of the bad guys? I hope not, but airports do have some vulnerabilities. They are available and open to just about anyone. We like to think of airports as high-security public facilities, and they are—once you get through the gauntlet of the TSA lines. Up to that point, however, anybody can enter. A ticket is not needed and nobody—it seems—asks questions. If your target is people, rather than airplanes, there are many targets of opportunity milling around upstream of the TSA checkpoints.

I hope I’m wrong about this. It’d be wonderful to learn that there are experts looking at all these people and asking questions of those who seem out of place. If that be profiling, then so be it. The true experts on this are in Israel, and it seems to work well for them.

Such profiling would require real experts. Look at the people at airports in this country. You have everything from three-piece suits right down to the truly bazaar and, as my mother would’ve said, many of them look “jus’ plumb tacky.” Others appear to be dressed for—how will I say this—maximum exposure. How would you decide who was a passenger and who was just out in left field?

In the meantime, another airport fact worries me. Recently in this country the owners of an airport woke up to a big surprise. It was one those private airports owned by people who live in their own houses on their airport. That morning what appeared to be a military version of a Pilatus PC-12 was parked on their airport. Nobody knew how it got there, nobody had given permission for it to land—much less park and abandon the airplane. It appeared—in the picture I saw—to be painted in two-tone grey, and seemed ominous.

From whence did it come? Why was it left? Why didn’t it land at one of the many military airports in that area? When would it be moved? If it was the military, what gave them the right to use private property without permission? I talked with one of the owners I know, and he had no answers at that time. There are many opinions, and some of them are no doubt correct. By the time you read this, of course, the questions will have been answered, at least in part.

Is this just one more encroachment by the guvmint on airports? Can/should we expect more of this? Where will all of this stop? Will helicopters be landing in our front yards?

Many of you will think I’m making a big deal of this. But look at how many other areas have indicated that our guvmint gets carried away and forgets this is supposed to be a country ruled by the people.

AOPA is now trying to stop our guvmint from forced inspections (at great expense, BTW) of general aviation airplanes on airports, sometimes at gunpoint. There was a time when I would have thought our guvmint couldn’t/wouldn’t do this. Now I wonder if it can be stopped.

About the Author

Ralph Hood