• Short Summary

    A new system designed to percent airline hijacking was demonstrated at London's Heathrow Airport today (Wednesday, March 18).

  • Description

    A new system designed to percent airline hijacking was demonstrated at London's Heathrow Airport today (Wednesday, March 18).

    The new system includes an anti-hijack device consisting of two aluminium poles, which passengers pass between. a meter registers the amount of ferrous metal being carried by the passenger.

    The purpose of the device is to detect various types of concealed weapons that could be used to forcibly take over an aircraft.

    A spokesman for Trans World Airlines, which implemented the device, said the new warning system is keyed to the behaviour of potential hijackers. Studies conducted by psychologists indicate that many hijackers of aircraft have certain behavioural traits -- things they do and don't do -- which contrast sharply with the normal behaviour of the average air traveller. Under the system, when the behaviour of a passenger fits that of a potential hijacker, he is kept under close surveillance. The suspect passenger is watched as he passes between the set of weapon - screening sensors.

    The TWA spokesman said that although everyone is screened, use of behavioural information can clear something like 99.5 per cent of all passengers even before they reach the censors, thus leaving only about one half of one per cent of air travellers with which to be concerned.

    Special precautions are also being taken to detect weapons in baggage being taken aboard aircraft.

    The airline spokesman said the obvious purpose of this system is to keep a potential hijacker from boarding an aircraft. Although the device is not fool-proof it is an initial step in the airlines' continuing effort to make hijacking more difficult.

    Trans World Airlines is using the new system at a number of locations around the world.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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