Air Cargo Insecurity

Some illuminating numbers alarm us.

11.3 million metric tons of cargo passed through U.S. airports in 2003.
• Less than 10 percent of it was screened for explosives.
100 percent of air passengers and their baggage are screened for explosives.
• Virtually all passenger flights carry air cargo.
• American Airlines spent $70 million to provide more legroom in coach class.
• Boeing spent $1 billion to launch a satellite-powered, high-speed in-flight Internet service.
• The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will spend $4.8 billion this year on passenger and baggage screening.
• It will spend $115 million on air cargo security.
• Last year, two-thirds of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s transportation security R&D budget went to technology for countering attacks on commercial aircraft with shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles.
• The United States has 6.3 million kilometers of roads, more than 160,000 kilometers of rail, nearly 600,000 bridges, more than 300 ports, and approximately 500 railroad stations.

SOURCES: U.S. Transportation Security Administration, ABI Research, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group, GAO, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and American Airlines

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