Aviation Business Ethics Sept 11 Industry Implications Term Paper

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Aviation Business Ethics and Sept. 11 Industry Implications

On September 11, 2001, nineteen terrorists passed through several security checkpoints at three United States airports and proceeded to hijack four commercial jets. The horror began at 8:45 A.M. Two hours later, more than three thousand people were killed in New York City, rural Pennsylvania and Arlington, Virginia (Duffy, 2002).

shattered the nation's sense of safety and security and forever changed the way people travel through and across America. In response to the tragic event, there is an increased pressure on the aviation industry to develop and implement higher ethical standards.

Because millions of people fly daily and rely on airlines, s well as the Federal Aviation Administration's oversight of aviation procedures, the entire aviation industry must work together to keep their passengers safe and secure.

Research Objectives

This research paper aims to address the subject of business ethics in the field of aviation, as well as emphasize the effects of Sept. 11 on the aviation industry. Through discussing the responsibilities each part of the aviation industry has toward air travel, this paper will provide a clear analysis of why enhanced business ethics concerning safety and security are of utmost importance.

This paper will compare security features before Sept. 11 with security features after Sept. 11, in an effort to determine how they have improved and what they are still lacking. In addition, it will discuss the rights of aviation employees, shareholders and passengers to determine which security and business procedures are safe and which are invasive.


Responsibilities of Aviation Industry in Aviation Safety and Security

The airlines have an ethical responsibility to provide the highest level of security to their passengers, who places their lives in the hands of the airlines (Sweet, 2002). Aviation security is primarily the responsibility of the aviation industry, which includes the major airlines, their security companies, the airports, and airline trade associations, which includes the American Transport Association.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for assessing the level of threat to commercial aviation based on information received from intelligence sources. The FAA must subsequently establish procedures to address this level of threat and purports in an effort to enforce those procedures within the aviation industry.

The aviation industry is responsible for implementing the procedures (Wells, 2001). The airlines must purchase insurance for aviation disasters, recognizing the known risks, including hijacking and terrorism. The FAA, airports, and the aviation industry are provided with information from various intelligence and law enforcement agencies; and must develop contingency plans to address threat levels, including the use of sophisticated screening equipment.

Security Responsibilities of Aviation Staff

Aviation Managers are found in all airlines, as well as in transportation support fields and local, state, federal, and international regulatory agencies (Wells, 2001). It is the responsibility of aviation managers to study and analyze aviation, determining what can be done to make it safer, as well as to develop new products and techniques designed to increase aviation security.

Airlines have, since Sept. 11, expressed concern over the education and training of aviation pilots, and many are considering raising the requirements for these positions.

The FAA has, since Sept. 11, issued new guidelines for training flight crews in dealing with potential threats, especially hijackings (Sweet, 2002). The basic strategy for airlines has shifted from passive to active resistance by crewmembers.

Flight crew must now address additional security procedures concerning areas like food handling and maintenance, where direct access to the plane lacks security.

Airlines are now advising their crewmembers to treat any type of passenger disturbance as suspicious, act as a team in a threatening situation and land the airplane as soon as possible when faced with any threat.

Airlines are now enforcing stricter minimum requirements for their flight crew, including 50 hours of classroom training, 60 hours of on-the-job training, and an examination for screeners. All flight crewmembers must be U.S. citizens and have a high school education.

A pilot is more than just someone who climbs aboard an airplane and flies it. Pilots have a major responsibility towards their passengers, as they are considered the eyes, ears and brains of the aircraft. Pilots check weather conditions and plan a safe route (Wells, 2001).

The pilot must also completely check the aircraft to ensure that all systems are operating properly and that all control surfaces and electrical equipment are functioning correctly. During the flight, pilots must monitor their progress and maintain communications with air traffic control facilities on the ground (Morrison, 1986).

As a result of Sept. 11, pilots are faced with even more responsibility. Pilots are now being trained on how to open the new cockpit doors, and what to tolerate regarding a threat on the other side of the door (Sweet, 2002).

Pilots are encouraged to make every attempt to land the plane rather than attempt to control any situations in the plane. This is the job of air marshals, which will soon be a part of every flight. As a result of Sept. 11, air marshals will now be placed on an aircraft, inconspicuously, with ammunition and training in security services.

Before Sept. 11

Sept. 11's terrorist attacks caused more than 3,000 deaths, billions of dollars in property damage and a decrease in the people's confidence regarding air travel (Duffy, 2002). Immediately, aviation security became of utmost importance to the U.S. government, the aviation industry and the public (Sweet, 2002).

Before Sept.11, three groups provided aviation security: airlines, airports and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Wells, 2001). Basically air carriers and airports provided most of aviation security, while the FAA regulated the industry.

Before Sept. 11, there were a variety of aviation-security problems involving aviation computer security; access to aircraft, airfields and other facilities; as well as the detection of dangerous objects.

One of the main events that changed aviation security after Sept. 11 was the increased role of the federal government in providing security.

One of the most important features of the airline industry is its transportation design. With its network structure, passengers from various airports gather in an airport, where they depart for their destinations (Coughlin, 2002).

This system leads to interdependencies that give rise to what economists call an externality, which exists whenever the consumption or production activity of one consumer or firm affects the well-being of other consumers or the production activities of other firms.

The events of Sept. 11 clearly showed that the lack of aviation security in one location affected the movement of passengers, airports and airlines throughout the system. The existence of an externality offers an economic reason for governmental involvement in aviation security.

Unregulated private markets are less likely to provide sufficient aviation security due to the fact that the security policies for one location may not account for the spillover benefits presented upon others throughout the network (Dufy, 2002). The role of government is to regulate private providers, subsidize private providers, and provide aviation security publicly.

As a result of the recent involvement of the federal government, there has been a substantial increase in resources for aviation security. The government is funding large increases in the use of labor resources (passenger and baggage screeners, law enforcement officers in airports and airplanes, and administrators) and capital resources (passenger and baggage screening machines, access-control systems and reinforced cockpit doors), taking a huge pressure off the airlines and airports (Coughlin, 2002).

Security Breaches Prior to Sept. 11

Although security guidelines prior to Sept. 11 required airport screeners to confiscate dangerous items, including box cutters, from passengers, the airlines, which were in charge of security at the time, terrorist managed to get several box cutters past airport checkpoints (Salant, 2002).

Prior to Sept. 11, the Air Transport Association, a representative for major airlines, and the Regional Airline Association, a trade group for smaller carriers, published the main security guide for airlines. This Checkpoint Operations Guide was designed to implement Federal Aviation Administration security regulations.

However, prohibiting box cutters on airplanes was an industry requirement, not a government one. The FAA actually allowed airline passengers to carry blades less than four inches long before Sept. 11.

However, airlines often did not invest the time or money before Sept. 11 to check passengers completely. In addition, according to Rep. John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation subcommittee on aviation, the FAA did have strict guidelines for screening standards in place (Salant). This combination was a recipe for disaster.

The whole security process was in disarray," said Mica, R-Fla. "When you don't have the personnel with any standards, and you don't have FAA adopting specific rules, you have no one to enforce it." (Salant)

After Sept. 11

Transportation Security Act (TSA)

Within months of Sept. 11, President Bush signed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (TSA), which created the Transportation Security Administration. This year, Bush announced the TSA would fall under his proposed Department of Homeland Security. (White House, 2002)

For the first time, airport security will become a direct federal responsibility, overseen by a new under…

Sources Used in Document:


Alaska Airlines Web Site

Aviation Safety Network:


Cillufo, Frank.

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