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The Modern Aviation Industry and Its Threats Proposal

Proposal Summary

Today we can observe drastic changes in numerous spheres of human activity. The aviation industry is no exception. It is an extremely complex field characterized by highly sophisticated and complex processes fundamental to its efficient functioning (Abeyratne 2016). Thus implementation of innovative methods and new technologies is expected to enhance these activities and ensure their error-free continuation. However, the creation of a new digitalized environment can result in the appearance of new vulnerabilities due to the nature of the software and technologies used in airports to organize their functioning and guarantee appropriate outcomes. For this reason, cybersecurity is becoming one of the major concerns of the modern aviation industry.

Moreover, modern society is characterized by a significant terrorist threat and new ways to organize terrorist acts (CANSO 2014). Such traditionally unstable regions as the Middle Eastern one, the war in Syria, and numerous other conflicts introduce the need for improved security methods to avoid harm to travelers and guarantee safety to all passengers who use the aviation industry’s services (Ferguson & Nelson 2013). In this way, enhanced anti-terrorist actions have today become the second main concern of the aviation sphere.

The human factor remains one of the leading causes of emergent situations leading to various failures. The increased sophistication of modern technology along with the numerous duties and responsibilities that every airport worker has might result in the appearance of performance problems or a lack of understanding for basic tasks (Cromie et al. 2015). For this reason, the human factor often leads to undesirable outcomes and might create the basis for the appearance of loopholes in the security system. Mitigation of the negative impact of this element is one of the primary tasks of today’s aviation industry.

Finally, many other factors appear every day that encourage the emergence of multiple problems in the aviation industry. These might include technological aspects, financial crises, political instability, etc. (Cromie et al. 2015). Moreover, the tendency towards an increase in demands on the quality of service creates a need for the constant improvement and alteration of outdated approaches with new ones which could also constitute a hypothetical threat, as their efficacy might be doubtful.

Thus international organizations like ICAO and IATA are monitoring the situation and the appearance of new threats that might result in the deterioration of the industry’s operations or more serious problems. The organizations are responding to these menaces by creating specific recommendations and measures to eliminate loopholes and enhance the security system (ICAO 2016). In this way, the central aim of this project is the investigation of new threats that are appearing due to the rise of technologies and complex international relations, and measures that are being introduced by airports and international organizations like ICAO and IATA to minimize risks and provide passengers with security guarantees. Moreover, ways to reduce the negative impact of the human factor and mistakes in some activities are also investigated. The importance of the project lies in the continual appearance of new threats and the critical significance of the aviation sphere for the modern world.

The topic of Literature Review

The importance of this problem can be seen in the numerous investigations and research projects devoted to it. Traditionally, airport security has been considered a central concern of the entire aviation industry. Investigations in this sphere show that there are some central causes for accidents:

 Accidents by primary cause
Figure 1. Accidents by primary cause (Caldwell 2012).

However, ICAO (2016) in its report emphasizes the fact that modern digitalized security gives rise to additional threats to aviation security. For instance, vulnerabilities in specific software packages used by airports might encourage the emergence of significant problems with flight management or other aspects of the industry’s operation. In this way, the rise of new technologies facilitates the development of complex issues related to the sphere of aviation (ICAO 2016). Moreover, these loopholes could potentially be used by terrorists to organize attacks and frighten passengers. For this reason, a comprehensive investigation of existing threats becomes a central factor in the efficiency of its functioning and results. Thus Hall (2015) in his book touches upon the same problem and outlines the unique importance of creating a specific culture of airport security capable of meeting the constantly emerging threats. To remain effective and provide both passengers and workers with safety guarantees, any airport security system should possess a certain level of flexibility and adaptive capability (Hall 2015). Only under these conditions will airports be able to maintain high-level protection by evaluating the threats and problems that appear every day (Abeyratne 2016). This pattern should become central for aviation, as it guarantees enhanced results and potent monitoring and security tools. Nevertheless, Raphael (2013) is also concerned about the current state of the security system in aviation and its ability to face existing challenges. Focusing on this issue, the author outlines the major challenges the industry faces nowadays. These include terrorist attacks, cyber threats, human factors, and software problems (Raphael 2013). Statistics show that a certain decrease in the number of attacks could be noticed:

Terrorism statistics.
Figure 2. Terrorism statistics (Statistic analysis of airplane accidents n.d.).

However, consideration of all challenges might be challenging for modern security managers as new concerns appear and specialists must be ready to find the original cause for the appearance of vulnerabilities and take into account international organizations’ recommendations to create a safe environment for all passengers and workers. For instance, certain areas demonstrate high vulnerability to cyber attacks:

Figure 3. Vulnerability (Shay 2016).

That is why it is critical to assess these aspects and improve security measures related to them. The significance of the task can be seen in the data about the most recent aviation accidents and the reasons for their emergence (Raphael 2013). In this regard, the monitoring of existing problems is a central task today. Furthermore, Price (2013) in his book also delves into the issue and outlines the current guidelines that are accepted in aviation security to minimize potential threats and ensure that no serious accidents will happen. The author admits that we now can observe a shift of priorities towards the creation of new systems that will be characterized by enhanced flexibility to respond to new threats. Price (2013) is certain that the use of innovative technologies will help to address the majority of new threats and guarantee that aviation will remain the safest means of transportation. However, we now face the extremely complex task of adapting systems to new conditions and ensuring that all organizations are ready to act regarding the new requirements and demands for efficacy and safety (Cromie et al. 2015). Finally, Singer and Friedman (2014) are also certain that we can now observe the first stages of cyberwar in the rapid development of technologies and their wide implementation in the sphere of aviation. In this way, it is becoming crucial to evaluate the nature of the threats now appearing and their potential. At the same time, specialists have also discovered numerous vulnerabilities in existing security systems emerging from the increased sophistication of the methods to attack them and perform injurious acts (Ferguson & Nelson 2013). For this reason, an in-depth investigation of all existing vulnerabilities is essential for the modern aviation industry.

Altogether, the literature supports the necessity of evaluating current dangers to be able to respond to them. It may be able to help improve the existing security systems and eliminate vulnerabilities. In this way, this section supports the necessity of the project and its possible contribution to the development of aviation security globally. However, the findings suggested by the authors should be checked during the project using a specific methodology suggested in one of the following sections. Having proved this data, we will be able to conclude about the existing threats and responses offered by agencies.


Regarding the nature of the project, the following objectives will be formulated:

  • to analyze existing threats to the aviation industry and its security
  • to discuss existing research literature and its perspectives on security systems
  • to analyze the efficiency of strategies suggested by ICAO and IATA to eliminate:
  • a terrorist threat
  • a cybersecurity threat
  • human factor aspects
  • to answer how efficient are these strategies
  • to discuss its advantages, disadvantages, and limitations
  • to create the basis for a future investigation

Project Outcomes

The project outcomes are stipulated by the objectives outlined above and should contribute to an enhanced understanding of these basic aspects of aviation security and the ways the industry responds to emerging threats. Therefore the outcomes will also include the formulation of a joint approach to safety that is currently used in the aviation industry to guarantee the safety of all passengers. Additionally, concerning these objectives, the most effective measures to eliminate loopholes in different approaches will be outlined and described. At the same time, a list of recommendations will be made to create a safe environment, minimize opportunities for intrusion or attack, and introduce an effective security system. Finally, the outcomes of the project will help to predict the further evolution of the aviation sphere and the way it should evolve to remain effective and face the majority of existing threats.

Why are you interested in the project?

Several factors influence my interest in the aviation industry. First, the modern globalized world could not be imagined without an aviation system that has become a strategic means of transportation that guarantees connections between the most distant regions of the world. I am certain that the efficient functioning of this industry is the key to further world development and improved international relations. For this reason, the elimination of existing threats becomes a top priority for cooperation at the highest level. Additionally, the emergence of a new menace means that more people will be endangered. I am certain that the question of security in aviation is a fundamental one as it affects individuals’ lives directly. There have been multiple accidents and air disasters that have resulted in numerous deaths and great devastation. One remembers the horror of the Twin Towers and other terrorist attacks where aircraft were used. Because of this, I am certain that the investigation of emerging threats and methods to respond to them is critical for a modern society where aviation is a central factor in its further development. Finally, an in-depth analysis of the industry will provide me with critical information about the fundamental features of its functioning which is essential for my future career. For this reason, the project has become extremely important to me, and I am trying to do my best to investigate the issue.

What are the key questions the project attempts to answer?

The nature of the project presupposes a comprehensive investigation of the modern environment in which the industry functions and its fundamental features. Thus considering the theme of the project, the first key question it has to answer is the nature of emerging threats and the main causes for their appearance. It is critical to acquire this information to understand how these problematic issues could be improved or eliminated. By knowing the root causes, specialists will be able to introduce specific measures to improve the situation and prevent the development of these threats. The second important question is the formulation of the list of the most topical dangers that should be considered in improving existing security systems and guaranteeing a safe environment for all passengers who want to use the services of the aviation industry. This issue is central to the project as the discovery of threats and their classification will create the foundation for debates about them and discussion of existing security measures. This is the paper’s third important question. Another crucial point of the paper is the analysis of responses and recommendations from international organizations like ICAO or IATA to minimize risks and protect aircraft, airports, passengers, and systems from potential attacks. Thus there are three central issues touched upon in the project. Their discussion and comprehensive investigation will help to improve understanding of the problem and result in the enhanced credibility of its findings. Moreover, the paper also attempts to outline future tendencies related to the aviation sphere and its development including new potential threats and the evolution of security systems to effectively respond to them and guarantee the security of all passengers.

What Research Methods do you intend to use?

The importance of the research and the scale of the discussed problem to guide the choice of particular research methods to ensure an in-depth investigation of the problem and bring about an enhanced understanding of it. Research methods determine the outcomes of any project, as the correct choice of methods promotes better data collection and analysis (Creswell 2014). For this reason, research methods constitute a critical element of any research paper. In this project, we explore both qualitative and quantitative research methods to guarantee an appropriate result. In other words, a mixed methodology is used.

First, the literature review method is used to collect the most relevant information from different sources. This approach provides an investigator with the opportunity to obtain the theoretical background needed to outline the basic features of the project and relevant issues (Creswell 2014). Moreover, in starting the research, it is central to acquire data about all existing perspectives on the question and specialists’ attitudes to various aspects of it (Walter & Andersen 2013). In this way, the literature review becomes essential for the project and a better understanding of the current situation in the aviation industry (Creswell 2014). We will select the most credible and relevant sources describing the current state of the problem and methods used to minimize threats with the primary aim to create the theoretical background for the research and discussion (Yin 2017). Only peer-reviewed articles and scholarly sources will be included in the review.

Second, statistical data analysis regarding the emergence of threats and incidents will be performed. It will demonstrate current tendencies in the sphere of aviation and how often some problems emerge due to various factors (Creswell 2014). We will collect data for the statistical from aviation companies’ reports, their websites, and other sources related to the appearance of potential threats and their further evolution. This analysis suggested statistical analysis will help to support the basic assumptions about the significance of particular vulnerabilities and their importance in terms of modern aviation security.

Finally, qualitative data will be acquired by interviewing workers in the aviation industry who face the threats mentioned above and are responsible for the elimination of loopholes in security systems. A questionnaire distributed online or during face-to-face communication will become the primary data collection tool needed to understand workers’ attitudes to the emerging threats and the efficacy of preventive measures suggested by ICAO or IATA (Tamasi & Demichela 2011). This information will help in the evaluation of perspectives on guaranteeing the security of passengers and in revealing problematic areas in the functioning of different airports.

Thus this project will be able to benefit from the use of a mixed qualitative-quantitative methodology and approach to data collection and analysis. However, there are particular limitations peculiar to the selected methodology. First, the literature review only is unable to provide impartial data from airports. This weakness is compensated by the introduction of interviews among workers to collect relevant information and their attitudes to ICAOs strategies and recommendations (Price 2013). As for the qualitative method, the validity of data is achieved by the creation of a questionnaire with a fixed number of questions to ensure the effective collection of information and its further processing. In such a way, the given approach helps to minimize data corruption and attain relevant results.

What primary and/or secondary data sources do you intend to use?

The project could gain credibility through the use of relevant sources that provide data about the latest changes in the aviation sphere and the way it functions nowadays. For this reason, there are several types of sources we will use. First, the reports of organizations like ICAO and IATA will be explored to collect credible evidence related to the research question, current security threats, and the ways the industry might respond to them. This type of source will provide us with credible and recent information that will help to enhance the importance of the project and its practical use. Second, we will use peer-reviewed academic articles that investigate the problem of security in modern aviation, the most common problematic issues, solutions, etc. This kind of evidence is critical for any project as it provides investigators with information about the latest findings in the aviation sphere and how it is applied to the present environment. The third important type of data source consists of books about the aviation industry, aviation security, cybersystems, and the way these are applied to guarantee the enhanced safety of passengers. This type of source is essential as it outlines changes in the approach to creating a safe environment and the way threats have evolved. Finally, the paper also uses information from trustworthy websites like ICAO and other organizations to guarantee an in-depth investigation of the issue, its basic features, and perspectives on particular problems. These sources are used to support the central assumptions and ensure that all information remains relevant and can be applied in a contemporary setting.

Please provide a draft chapter heading for your report

The paper is focused on an in-depth investigation of the current aviation industry, its security system, threats that are appearing, and responses to them. For this reason, it encompasses both qualitative and quantitative methods to assess the most topical data related to the issue and ensure that the most problematic aspects are addressed. Moreover, regulations suggested by ICAO, IATA, and other international organizations are also discussed.

The central reason for choosing this theme is its increased significance in modern society. As a strategic means of transport, aviation attracts the attention not only of authorities and organizations that promote its further growth; we can also observe a constantly growing terrorist threat and a tendency towards the emergence of multiple vulnerabilities that deteriorate the functioning of the whole industry and might result in incidents with numerous victims. Moreover, the rapid rise of technology and the emergence of new ways to attack protected systems create a need for effective protective measures to ensure that the functioning of airports will not be impaired. In this way, cybersecurity becomes another important concern of the modern aviation sphere. The combination of these facts establishes the need for appropriate actions that will minimize existing threats and promote the further development of aviation security. Therefore the necessity of an effective intervention is also recognized by international organizations like IATA and ICAO that have created specific guidelines that might help investigate the reasons for the appearance of the vulnerabilities mentioned above. In this way, one of the aviation sphere’s primary focuses nowadays is the investigation of existing problems and ways they could be solved to bring about enhanced security for passengers.


  1. Completion of the thesis proposal
  2. Collection of material for the project
  3. Creation of a survey
  4. Distribution and data processing
  5. Creation of the outline
  6. The first draft of the paper
  7. Corrections and alterations in sections
  8. The second draft of the paper
  9. Proofreading
  10. The final version of the project

List of References

Abeyratne, R 2016, Rulemaking in air transport, Springer, Montreal.

Caldwell, J 2012, ‘Crew schedules, sleep deprivation, and aviation performance’, Current Directions in Psychological Science, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 85-89, viewed 28 February 2017, Web.

CANSO 2014, CANSO Cyber security and risk assessment guide, Web.

Creswell, J 2014, Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Cromie, S, Ross, D, Corrigan, S, Liston, P, Darragh, L, & Demosthenous, E 2015, ‘Integrating human factors training into safety management and risk management: a case study from aviation maintenance’, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part O: Journal of Risk and Reliability, vol. 229, no. 3, pp. 266-274

Ferguson, M & Nelson, S 2013, Aviation safety: a balanced industry approach, Delmar Cengage Learning, Clifton Part, NY.

Hall, R 2015, The transparent traveller: the performance and culture of airport security, Duke University Press Books, Durham, NC.

ICAO 2016, , Web.

Price, J 2013, Practical aviation security, second edition: predicting and preventing future threats (Butterworth-Heinemann homeland security), Butterworth-Heinemann, New York, NY.

Raphael, R 2013, Airport security: a national security challenge, German Marshall Fund, Washington, DC.

Shay, L 2016, Ranking commercial aviation’s cybersecurity priorities, Web.

Singer, P & Friedman, A 2014, Cybersecurity and cyberwar: what everyone needs to know, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Statistic analysis of airplane accidents n.d., Web.

Tamasi, G & Demichela, M 2011, ‘Risk assessment techniques for civil aviation security’, Reliability Engineering & System Safety, vol. 96, pp. 593-599.

Walter, M & Andersen, C 2013, Indigenous statistics: a quantitative research methodology, Routledge, New York, NY.

Yin, R 2017, Case study research and applications: design and methods, SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.

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