Aircraft hijacking

From Academic Kids

This article is in need of attention.
Please improve ( this article.
Car bombing
Suicide bombing
Nuclear terrorism
Independent actors

Aircraft hijacking (also known as Skyjacking) is the take-over of an aircraft, by a person or group, usually armed. Unlike the hijacking of land vehicles, it is usually not perpetrated in order to rob the cargo. Rather, most aircraft hijackings are committed to use the passengers as hostages in an effort to either obtain transport to a given location, or, in the case of the American planes that were hijacked to Cuba during the 1970s, the release of comrades being held in prison. In the September 11, 2001 attacks, the use of hijacked planes as suicide missiles changed the way hijacking was perceived as a security threat — though a similar usage had apparently been attempted on Air France Flight 8969 in 1994.

One task of airport security is to prevent hijacks by screening passengers and keeping anything that could be used as a weapon (even smaller objects like nail and boxcutters, for example) off aircraft.



Hijackings for hostages have usually followed a pattern of negotiations between the hijackers and the authorities, followed by some form of settlement -- not always the meeting of the hijackers' original demands -- or the storming of the aircraft by armed police or special forces to rescue the hostages. Previous to September, 2001, the policy of most airlines was for the pilot to comply with hijackers' demands in the hope of a peaceful outcome. Since then, policies have reversed course, in favor of arming and armoring the cockpit.

The first recorded aircraft hijack was on February 21, 1931, in Arequipa, Peru. Byron Rickards flying a Ford Tri-motor was approached on the ground by armed revolutionaries. He refused to fly them anywhere and after a ten day stand-off Rickards was informed that the revolution was successful and he could go in return for giving one of their number a lift to Lima. Most hijackings have not been so farcical. The first hijack of a commercial airliner probably happened on July 16, 1948, when a failed attempt to gain control of a Cathay Pacific seaplane caused it to crash into the sea off Macao. On September 12 1948 a Greek T.A.E Airlines plane was sucessfully hijacked by 6 pro-communist students who wanted passage to Yugoslavia. The plane landed near Skopje and returned to Thessaloniki later that evening.

Since 1947, 60% of hijackings have been refugee escapes. In 1968-69 there was a massive rise in the number of hijacking. In 1968 there were 27 hijackings and attempted hijackings to Cuba. In 1969 there were 82 recorded hijack attempts worldwide, more than twice the total attempts for the whole period 1947-67. Most were Palestinians using hijacks as a political weapon to publicise their cause and to force the Israeli government to releasing Palestinian prisoners from jail.

Airliner hijackings have declined since the peak of 385 incidents between 1967-76. In 1977-86 the total had dropped to 300 incidents and in 1987-96 this figure was reduced to 212.

Other significant hijackings include:


There has been talk of fortifying cockpit doors to prevent would-be hijackers from entering and gaining control of the aircraft. In the United States and Australia, air marshals have also been added to some flights to deter and thwart hijackers. In addition, some have proposed remote control systems for aircraft whereby no one on board would have control over the plane's flight.

International law issues

Tokyo Convention

Hague Aircraft Hijacking Convention

Montreal Convention

See also

de:Flugzeugentführung nl:vliegtuigkaping


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools