The Persistent Threat of Aviation Hijacking


As the focus of global security shifts, the tactics, techniques, and procedures of the past have never truly gone away.

On February 24, on a flight from Dhaka to Dubai, a Bangladeshi national named Mohammad Palash Ahmed brandished a toy gun and managed to hijack a passenger plane carrying 156 people. His demands were not for the freedom of an oppressed land or the release of some fellow fighters, but only to speak with the Bangladeshi prime minister about his failing marriage to a popular actress. The situation ended with the plane landing at Shah Amanat International Airport where Ahmed refused to surrender and was killed by security personnel.

While hijackings today are notable for their rarity, Ahmed’s act was not dissimilar from past incidents. As consultants, we recently compiled a new database of attacks on aviation assets for a client. While the complete data remains proprietary, this recent event allows us to apply the findings publicly for the first time. What this teaches is that as the focus of global security shifts, the tactics, techniques, and procedures of the past have never truly gone away. While focus rightly returns to great-power competition, policy makers and practitioners should not forget the hard-earned lessons of past security challenges.

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Source: The National Interest