Last updated: 10:03 PM ET, Sun September 18 2016

EgyptAir Flight 804: Is It Still Too Early For Answers?

Airlines & Airports | Josh Lew | May 23, 2016

EgyptAir Flight 804: Is It Still Too Early For Answers?

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

It is still unclear whether or not the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 was caused by an act of terror or some sort of catastrophic mechanical failure.     

However, the incident has raised concerns about airport security in Europe. Airports have moved to alleviate terrorism fears over the past year, but some reports suggest that they may not be doing enough. 

Ground crews under suspicion

One of the biggest concerns has to do with who has access to secure areas of airports. Some recent reports have suggested that this is indeed a major issue. 

In 2015, Aeroports de Paris, the corporation that runs the city’s main airports, said that it had revoked the security clearance of some 70 workers because it feared that they had been “radicalized.”  

Also, while investigating the March bombing in Brussels, authorities discovered that two of the brothers involved in the attacks had actually, at one point, worked as cleaners in the airport. 

And there are more examples of this. Earlier this month, a report from a German news outlet claimed that a man with known terrorist sympathies was allowed to work as an airplane cleaner for 10 months at two Berlin airports after police warned airport officials about him. He was finally fired when he tried to smuggle brass knuckles into a secure area. 

READ MORE: French Officials Reinforcing Airport Security Before French Open

Too early to draw conclusions

Despite these reports, it is too early to draw any conclusions.

Security expert Ed Daly, Director of Global Watch, iJET International, said that an “inside job” is indeed a possibility, but perhaps not as likely as some media outlets are suggesting. “It is too early to speculate on the trustworthiness or intent of air and ground crews who successfully support thousands of flights, but security agencies have expressed concern about this possibility well before this incident, and these concerns have only grown since Islamic State and others showed a willingness and capability to carry out such attacks.” 

Increased security at French airports

Since last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris, security has been increased exponentially at the airports that serve the Paris Metro area. According to an AP report, 5,000 private security guards now patrol the de Gaulle and Orly airports alongside thousands of soldiers, police and customs and immigration agents. Additional video surveillance has also been installed and the number of canine patrols has also been increased. 

Daly also said that fliers can expect an even more increased security presence at airports in France and Europe even though no terrorist link has yet been proved. “For the sake of public confidence, a higher security profile and more scrutiny will surely be instituted, as it is already in many places even without knowing the cause…”

READ MORE: What Could Have Happened to EgyptAir MS804?

Still looking for answers

While people who are traveling now are likely unnerved by the possibility that the EgyptAir crash was caused by an act of terror, there is nothing to do but wait for the investigation to be completed. If anything, the increased security and the awareness of possible holes in that security could lead to a safer air travel environment in the near future.

Before they make any real changes, however, authorities in Europe (and elsewhere in the world) will need to discover what actually happened to cause the crash of MS804. And that will probably take time.  


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