posted on Nov, 13 2006 @ 08:18 PM
I have been reading up on the topic in the previous posts and here are my 2 cents (though some points are repetitive)
Mobility: An aircraft offers a terrorist unsurpassed mobility at the cost of lesser technological hurdles. Not only can the terrorist fly to any part
of the world if he/she is so inclined, the logistics of doing so are simpler too. For instance take the compact shape of an aircraft, its refueling
procedure and output generated and compare it with a ship, its diversely spread machinery and output generated (in terms of speed and ability to
change transportation channels).
Communication: By this I mean communication not only with the authorities but also with the masses. By flying over different countries and
jurisdictions a hijacked aircraft generates event centered media attention in each new location. There is a general mobilization of troops everywhere
a hijacked aircraft lands, thus adding to the media drama. Plus in todays globalised environment, there are often people of multiple nationalities
aboard an aircraft, thus automatically generating media attention in thair native countries.
Counterterror difficulties: Assualting an aircraft is the most difficult of hostage rescue scenarios as the operating space is very limited
(disadvantaging mostly the assaulting troops) and the windows of opportunities are very small. e.g. you have to undertake an operation when the
aircraft is grounded, unlike in ships or trains or buses where assaults can take place in transit. Further more no nation wants blood of foreigners
spilt on their territories so the terrorists benefit from jurisdictional disputes too (e.g. foreign countries may place restictions on rescue ops).
Destructive potential: While placing an explosive device or rendering an essential feature of an aircraft inoperable has become very very tough to
achieve these days, achieving them produces rather extensive results. Even a small charge can be fatal for every passenger on board, if detonated
Media coverage: as mentioned earlier, when an aircraft is hijacked a lot of attention is generated by the event and an explosion whips up frenzy like
nothing else. A succesful strike also points towards the resourcefulness of the terrorists as they have successfully defeated the extensive security
infrastructure of the state. Victory (however temporary it may be) of a non-state actor over a state is news indeed.
[edit on 13-11-2006 by Elven Sniper]