On October 31st, a Russian commercial airline came down in the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 on board. The plane blew up only 20 minutes into its flight to St. Petersburg from Sharm el-Sheikh airport. The Russian government has come to the conclusion that the explosion was caused by a planted bomb. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and posted online a photograph of what they assert is the bomb that brought down the Russian plane.

Airport Security
Travelers pass through a security checkpoint at Orlando’s Airport. (Flickr/frankieleon)

The event has been the cause for concern amongst international travelers and airport security officials. The British government responded by evacuating civilians, and some commercial airliners, including Easyjet and British Airways, have canceled flights, suspending operations at Sharm el-Sheikh airport.

This heightened worry has led to the questioning of current airport security measures. Assuming that the picture posted was indeed the bomb, explosives expert Anthony May is quoted by CNN as saying that, since the can is metal, “any typical security protocol should detect this via the metal detectors or via the x-rays.” Security officials at Sharm el-Sheikh believe that two of the airport’s employees assisted the bomber onto the plane or helped place the bomb. After analyzing the wreckage, Russian investigators now believe that the bomb was planted in the passenger cabin, and not the cargo hold.

The worry is that security measures are not looking at the problem correctly, and that current measures are, according to Phillip Baum of Aviation Security International, “security theatre as opposed to security reality.” In June, covert teams from the Department of Homeland Security managed to sneak fake bombs and weapons past screeners 67 out of 70 times. In response to these apparent shortcomings, some have suggested that security measures focus more passenger behavior before a flight and the threat of an insider attack. In essence, supporters of these kind of measures .


  1. Egypt plane crash: Airlines cancel more Sharm el-Sheikh flights – BBC
  2. Exclusive: Egypt detains two airport staff over Russian air crash – Reuters
  3. ISIS publishes photo of what it says is bomb that downed Russian plane – CNN
  4. No more of the same, please – The Economist
  5. Russian plane crash: everything we know on Monday morning about the airliner Isil says it brought down on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula – The Telegraph
  6. Sharm el-Sheikh crash: Bomb was ‘probably planted in Russian plane cabin’, say Moscow investigators – The Telegraph