2010-01-09 18:53:00 UTC
western world reacts by increasing restrictions imposed on passengers
and increasing hassles of going through security. (I think we are lucky
that this time around, they didn't ask people to remove their underwear
as they did for shoes :-)
While we have come to expect politicians to have knee jerk reactions to
every such incidents, I am wondering if this latest one may not result
in some non trivial changes to travel patterns.
If every international flight into the USA will require special
hardware/procedures and segregation from the rest of an airport's
operations, is it possible that we will see fewer and fewer city pairs
being served between USA and the rest of the world ?
Consider the case of Canada. Almost all its major airports already have
a segregated area to process US bound passengers, so adding new machines
and imposing new restrictions (such as no hand luggage right now) is
easy to impose without changing life in the rest of the airport.
However, for large international airports for whom traffic to the USA
represents a relatively small proportion of flights, are they going to
want to create a segregated area with different security procedures for
USA bound passengers ?
Are there many airports who are going to say "fuck it" and prefer to
lose their daily non stop flight to the USA rather than invest megabucks
to reshape airport and install new equipment that will be used only for
that one daily flight ?
From a logistical point of view, it then becomes simpler to funnel all
passengers from smaller airports in africa, middle east etc through one
of the main european airports where they have the special "USA"
screening equipment, space and procedures and they can then board a
flight to the USA.
Or put it differently, if the current plans really are permanent, will
this limit the number of international airports willing to equip
themselves to comply with requirements to process USA bound passengers ?
is it possible that the latest changes might result in Heathrow,
Frankfurt, Schiphol and Paris becoming gateways to the USA ? Each would
then have sufficient passenger numbers to warrant the full deployment of
the procedures/equipment needed to process USA bound passengers.
And if this happens, is it possible that it may give some impetus for
the 747 and 380 for trans-atlantic routes ?
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