On February 18th, 1969, four armed terrorist
s attacked an El-Al
(Israel’s national airline company) aircraft in Zurich
airport. An armed security officer that was on board the plane killed one of them and held off the other three till Swiss security forces
reached the area. This was the first public indication that El-Al employ armed sky marshals on its flights.
In addition to security men, El-Al has employed other safety measures such as sealed double doors to the cockpit, a luggage area that is blast-protected to a certain extent and, according to some reports, measures to avoid heat-seeking missiles. It’s worth noticing that while Israel has been a prime target for terrorist attacks ever since 1948, and certainly since 1967, no Israeli airplanes were kidnapped. Strict security measures taken by El-Al personnel in airports help protect the plane from bombs, too.
While this has made flight prices slightly higher, it seems to be worth it. Other airline companies can adopt many of these measures that have already proven themselves useful.
On a side note, I seem to recall that in the afore mentioned incident in Zurich airport the Swiss police acted in their usual friendly way and arrested the security man along side the terrorists…