More distressing news involving terror activity at airports emerged on Tuesday, March 28, when 59-year-old Seif Eddin Mustafa was arrested for hijacking an EgyptAir plane in route to Cairo.
Yet, this story does not end tragically like the terror attacks in Brussels as the man behind the hijacking was not armed with any weapons, and when the plane eventually landed in Cyprus, all of the passengers were released safely after Mustafa was involved in a six hour standoff with authorities.
Mustafa took the flight hostage by claiming that he was wearing an explosive vest, but that thankfully turned out to be a lie, as the explosive vest was fake. However, nobody on the flight was aware of Mustafa’s lie, nor could they take the risk of trying to attack the man when they were not completely sure if he was telling the truth. Mustafa is now facing charges of hijacking, illegal possession of explosives and abduction.
The catalyst behind the unsettling incident is that Mustafa was apparently desperate to see his ex-wife Marina Paraschos and their three children in Cyprus. Mustafa was an abusive husband and father whom Paraschos also claims was addicted to drugs throughout their marriage. The cruelty got so bad that it has now come to the point where his ex-wife and three kids want absolutely nothing to do with the terror suspect.
More unsettling is the fact that Mustafa and his wife divorced 25 years ago, and Paraschos claims to have barely been in touch with her ex-husband since then. Yet, Mustafa has tried to stalk his ex-wife before and was deported from Cyprus three times due to harassment. Mustafa allegedly used a fake passport in at least one of the the instances that he tried to enter Cyprus.
While we should be grateful that nobody was killed in this madman’s act of terror, it is alarming to think about how many major airline incidents or tragedies have occurred in the last year or so at the hands of mentally unstable individuals. When 224 people were killed in the destruction of the Metrojet Flight 9268 back in October 2015, investigations found that a homemade bomb was the catalyst for the terrible tragedy. ISIS claimed responsibility for this attack, and it is believed by many international officials that an ISIS insider working at Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh airport placed the bomb on the flight.
In March 2015, 149 innocent people lost their lives when Andreas Lubitz, a pilot secretly suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts, decided to commit suicide by crashing the Airbus A320-211 plane he was flying into the French Alps. As stated by CNN columnists Holly Han and Don Melvin, “If airlines cannot ensure with 100 percent certainty that their pilots are emotionally stable, they certainly cannot ensure that their passengers are.”
Although United States’ airlines have gone out of their way to improve their measures of security, it has become apparent that airline security needs to be improved in countries all across the globe. The fact that Mustafa was able to get on the flight with his criminal record is something that should be seen as a wake-up call that more needs to be done to ensure that citizens all across the globe are able to fly wherever they need to go without having to worry about their lives being jeopardized by acts of terror.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry claimed that Mustafa had been screened before takeoff and made the explosive vest out of materials in his carry-on bag, but the man never should have been allowed on the plane in the first place.
In the wake of all of these airline incidents, I believe that several dramatic measures need to be taken in order to ensure airline security. I think that people who have either been arrested on multiple occasions or been convicted of a severe crime should not be allowed to travel on a public airline. Air travel is a privilege that should be allowed for citizens who do not get themselves into trouble or commit misdeeds against society.
I also feel that before a flight takes off, security should be brought in to examine every aspect of the plane so as to ensure that no explosives are planted in the plane. This would include examining carry on bags and materials that passengers are carrying in their hands. In addition to putting these carry on bags in the luggage compartment of the plane, passengers should have to put any object they have in their possession in the luggage compartment as well. Whether that be a phone, a laptop, or a carry on video game, the safety of passengers on a plane needs to be treated with the utmost importance.
Some readers may feel that these suggestions are going overboard, but I think that passengers on a plane would much rather deal with extreme measures of security than with a madman whose goal is to create chaos and put an end to their lives.