Frequently Asked Questions: Air Travel and EgyptAir
The fact that Egyptian authorities said that they were looking into whether terrorism had caused the crash of the EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo early Thursday morning raised fears about the safety of air travel and also traveling in general. Here’s what you need to know about staying safe in the skies and on the ground.
The EgyptAir flight 804 that crashed originated in Paris. Does this mean that the city and France in general are at an increased risk for a terrorist attack?
Yes, but so are other countries in Europe, including Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom, said Nick Doyle, a terrorism expert and managing director of the security risk management practice at Kroll. “Intelligence says that an attack is highly likely, but, obviously, no one knows when or where,” he said.
So, should I avoid traveling to France since this recent possible attack happened on a flight departing France?
There is no reason not to travel to France, according to Martin Stone, the head of Europe, Middle East and Africa for the New York City-based global investigation firm Nardello & Co., but travelers should be aware that there are several major sports events happening in the country over the next several months such as the French Open, taking place now through early June; the UEFA European Championship, the soccer tournament from June 10 through July 10; and the Tour de France, starting July 2. Large-scale events like these, said Mr. Stone, are potential terrorist targets.
The plane that crashed was headed to Cairo. Does that mean that Egypt is an unsafe travel destination?
It’s hard to say whether Egypt is categorically unsafe, according to Rana Feghali, the head of Nardello’s Dubai practice. But, she said, since the EgyptAir plane had stops in Tunisia and Cairo, a security breach in one of those destinations could have led to an explosive device being loaded onto the plane. That said, the cause of the crash has not yet been determined.
What are the chances of a terrorist attack happening on a plane?
Very small. An estimated 3.5 billion people flew globally in 2015 according to the International Air Transport Association, a trade association for the world’s airlines. According to Perry Flint, the organization’s head of corporate communications in the Americas, that same year, there were two deliberate acts of unlawful interference against commercial transport aircrafts that led to the loss of passenger lives: Germanwings 9525 because of a pilot suicide and Metrojet 9268 where terrorism is the suspected cause. Both of these incidents resulted in the deaths of 374 passengers and crew- barely a fraction of the total number of fliers.
非常小。由全世界的航空公司组成的行业组织国际航空运输协会(International Air Transport Association)估计，2015年全球航空客运量为35亿人次。据该组织的美洲企业沟通负责人佩里·弗林特(Perry Flint)表示，同年，故意非法干预商业运输机并导致乘客殒命的行为只有两起：德国之翼(Germanwings)的9525航班和Metrojet公司的9268航班。前者是因为飞行员自杀，后者的原因怀疑是恐怖主义。两起事件导致374名乘客和机组成员死亡，仅为机组人员和飞机乘客总数的一小部分。
The risk of air terrorism may be small said Mike Ackerman, the founder and chairman of the Ft. Lauderdale-based security consulting firm Ackerman Group who is an expert in travel-related terrorism, but the fear around it is big. “The incidence of air terrorism is statistically insignificant but psychologically significant because it’s so terrifying,” he said.
总部设在劳德代尔堡的安全咨询公司阿克曼集团(Ackerman Group)的创始人兼董事长、旅行相关恐怖主义问题专家迈克·阿克曼(Mike Ackerman)则表示，空中恐怖主义的风险可能比较小，却会引起严重担忧。“空中恐怖主义发生的几率从统计上来说微乎其微，但对人们的心理影响却很大，因为太可怕了，”他说。
Is it safer to fly domestically within the United States than internationally?
T.J. Schulz, the president of the trade association Airport Consultants Council and an aviation security expert, said that the risk of air terrorism domestically is extremely low. “The last successful air terrorist attack in the U.S. was 9/11, and though there have been attempts since then like the underwear and shoe bombers, the airport security at U.S. airports is far more rigorous and layered now than it was when 9/11 happened which makes an attack much more difficult,” he said.
行业组织机场咨询委员会(Airport Consultants Council)主席、航空安全专家T·J·舒尔茨(T.J. Schulz)表示，美国国内发生空中恐怖主义的风险极低。“上一次在美国得逞的空中恐怖袭击是9·11。在那之后，尽管有人试图将爆炸物藏在内衣或鞋子里，但均未能得逞。美国机场的安全措施远比9·11时更严格，层级更多，这大大增加了袭击难度，”他说。
Is there anything I can do to stay safe from air terrorism?
Mr. Ackerman advises travelers to limit their air travel to carriers from industrialized countries because they tend to have the most thorough security standards. “Fliers sometimes want to avoid American carriers because they think that America is a terrorist target, but American airlines and other industrialized countries have rigorous security screening procedures,” he said.
How can I protect myself from terrorism in general?
Mr. Doyle says that travelers should be aware of any potential safety risks at the destination they’re heading to. And, in a recent New York Times article on travel to Europe, Tim Horner, the head of Kroll’s security risk management practice, advised avoiding crowded areas such as concert halls and stadiums and having an exit strategy in place if you do go. He also suggested knowing how to get around the city you’re in, emailing your itinerary and copies of your travel documents, including your passport, to family members, and limiting the amount of personal information you carry (no need to tote along all your credit cards).