Airline Terrorism

A History with Case Studies


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About the Book

Venturing into the ever-shifting panorama of airborne terrorism, this book immerses the reader in a vivid retelling of pivotal incidents from recent history, while delving into the terrorists’ favored methods of attack. These include hijackings, in-flight bombings, and precision missile strikes, as well as the rising peril of cyberattacks aimed at airports and commercial airliners mid-flight.
Readers will encounter the controversial TWA Flight 800 disaster and the baffling vanishing act of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. These events ignited enduring discussions about terrorism and governmental transparency. The book ventures into the unsettling world of the September 11th attacks, where jetliners were transformed into guided missiles. Also witnessed are the chilling tales of “Black Widows”—Chechen female suicide bombers leaving their indelible mark on Russian soil. Also explored are Libyan culpability in the bombings of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and UTA Flight 772 over the Sahara Desert. The evolution of security measures in air travel is chronicled and an examination is given of emerging biometric technologies along with security protocols relevant to the post–Covid era.

About the Author(s)

Marc E. Vargo is the author of ten nonfiction books and numerous articles in professional journals. He lives on New Orleans’ Northshore.

Bibliographic Details

Marc E. Vargo
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 297
Bibliographic Info: notes, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9084-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5228-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Part I. Aerial Terrorism: History, Motives and Methods
One—Air Piracy: Hijackings 7
Two—Improvised Explosive Devices and Surface-to-Air Missiles 48
Three—Conventional Assaults and Cyberattacks on Airports and Airliners 81
Part II. Case Studies
Four—Up in the Air: The Controversy of TWA Flight 800 111
Five—Over the Skies of Russia: The 2004 Black Widow Attacks 164
Six—Libya and Terrorism I: The Downing of Pan Am Flight 103 182
Seven—Libya and Terrorism II: The Downing of UTA Flight 772 224
Eight—Aircraft as Guided Missiles: Kamikazes, ­al-Qaeda, and the 9/11 Attacks 243
Index 275