Soon, pilots from all airlines flying into Israeli airspace will have to enter a numbered sequence to prove they are not terrorist hijackers. The secret code will be generated by the Security Code System, designed by Elbit Systems complete with a credit-card-sized keypad. Authorized pilots everywhere will eventually be issued keypads, 10,000 in all. For security reasons, the Israeli government won't go into detail about what pilots are supposed to do, exactly. But they did mention what would happen when pilots failed to do it:
Pilots who fail the authentication test when they approach Israeli airspace will be denied entry. Should a plane go ahead, ignoring further warnings, Israel will consider it hostile and scramble fighter planes for an interception.
Is there a chance that the plane will be shot down? You better believe it. But the good news is, this thing is pretty much fool-proof, and will save lives, not cost them:
"You can't bluff this system," Dani Shenar, chief of security for Israel's Transportation Ministry, told Reuters. "It provides a higher level of confidence that the aircraft is being controlled by the right people, which is a huge asset in terms of avoiding unnecessary security alerts."
The article also points out that the system would be able to differentiate between a "a classic hostage-taking hijacking and a 9/11-style hijacking." I don't know why, but hearing about different styles of hijacking (and that a machine can now tell the difference) sent chills up my spine. And like many of you I'm getting on a plane in less than 24 hours. Happy travels! [Reuters]