[Press and Public Relations] Crisis of Confidence in the Skies [Aviation Security]

September 2001

No 128

University of Leicester expert on aviation security Dr Simon Bennett has described the 'crisis of confidence' that is set to emerge in the wake of the terrorist assault on America.

Speaking at the Institute of International Research Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Conference held in Westminster this weekend, Dr Bennett, a lecturer in risk management at the University's Scarman Centre claimed some airlines may never recover from the effects of the disaster.

"These attacks have an enormous impact on the commercial aviation sector. Often, airlines that suffer such attacks - as in the case of United Airlines and American Airlines in the US, whose aircraft were hijacked on September 11th - can struggle to get over the resulting crisis of confidence, increased insurance rates, and damaged reputations."

Dr Bennett argued that Pan American World Airways never really recovered from the bombing of its jumbo jet 'Maid of the Seas' over Lockerbie in 1988.

"In 1989 demand for seats on Pan Am aircraft fell by 13%. The effects on UK airlines are already apparent. Following the attacks upon the World Trade Center and Pentagon, British Airways' share price fell by 21%.

"Because we live in a globalised world economy, events in distant lands can have significant impacts here. Systems theorists like myself call this 'tight coupling'. Aviation is particularly susceptible to such 'system shocks'.

"The short term solution for companies is to make provision against such shocks. The long term solution is to remove the 'shock' itself. This means tighter security (although security on international flights is already good). But, almost by definition, the ultimate answer lies with the governments of the world and agencies like the United Nations".

NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please contact Dr Bennett on 0116 252 5700.

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Last updated: 26 September 2001 16:35
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