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January 6, 2004
Don't Let The Cabin Door Hit You On The Way Out

Two international air carriers insist that they will not comply with US requirements to have armed sky marshals on board designated flights:

The decisions by South African Airways and Thomas Cook Airlines, the charter flight arm of Europe’s second biggest travel firm, deepened a dispute over a move Washington sees as essential to outwitting al-Qaida and other extremist groups. ... German-owned Thomas Cook Airlines, which flies to Orlando, Fla., from Britain and also flies through U.S. airspace to the Caribbean, ruled out using marshals in any circumstances. “Thomas Cook Airlines has not changed its policy that if presented with a sky marshal on any of our routes, the flight would be canceled,” it said in a statement.

South African Airways, which has 28 return flights a week to Atlanta and New York, also said it would not for the time being meet U.S. demands.

Without trying to sound too jingoistic -- I'm sure that both airlines will survive nicely without its American business -- but if they don't want to meet US security standards, then they can keep their airlines out of our airspace and allow other carriers who take security more seriously to service passengers instead. After 9/11, we would have hoped that the entire global travel industry understood the necessity of having intervention possible if an airplane is hijacked and used as a guided missile against American or other Western targets. For the most part, they have understood and cooperated. Even the British pilots aren't refusing to comply, but are just asking for some clarifications and some rules:

“The fact that you have got people behind you in a pressurized cabin with guns and bullets is not a happy thought,” said a spokesman for the British Airline Pilots’ Association, which represents most of Britain’s 9,200 airline pilots. “But if the government persists, we want certain conditions laid down.”

That is not an unreasonable position to take. Thomas Cook and South African Airways are behaving as if 9/11 was fiction and 3,000 people dead is merely an error. Not only am I glad that these two Luddite Airways organizations won't soon be flying into our airspace, their attitude should cause some other nations to review their flight status as well. Terrorists aren't just targeting Americans, after all, and if the Islamofascists know that they can board a Thomas Cook flight and meet no meaningful resistance, you can bet that they will take advantage of that information one day, and soon.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 6, 2004 12:38 PM

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