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Wednesday, 18 August 2010


Deaths of passengers from airline terrorism are, of course, fabulously rare. The worst decade was the 1980s, when about 150 passengers per year were being killed. The figure has fallen steadily since then, and is now around the same level as it was in the 1960s - about 40 deaths per year.

Today there are many more flights than there were in the 1960s, so the relative figures are even better than those numbers imply. The reduction in deaths is due to a combination of factors, the two principal ones being better airline security and the general fact that terrorism - airline and otherwise - is much rarer now than it was.

The world's airlines fly about two billion passengers each year. If each passenger spends an extra three-quarters of an hour getting through airport security over what they would have spent in the 1960s, then 2,300 human lifetimes are taken up in airport security per year.

So airport security takes about sixty times more human lives than the threat that it protects against...

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