Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New ID system for pilots flying to Israel

Israel is preparing to introduce a new pilot identification system in order to enhance aviation security for that country. According to Danny Shenar, head of security at Israel's Transportation Ministry, the new system will feature "a credit card-size device that is personally and exclusively assigned to each pilot, and carried aboard their flights."

Under the program, called Code Positive, the cards will be distributed free of charge to pilots of all commercial airlines that fly to Israel. A Reuters article on about the Code Positive system quotes Mr. Shenar:
"Using this card, it will be possible to verify that the person flying the aircraft is indeed the person qualified to fly it," Shenar told Israel's Army Radio.

"This system was developed to prevent aviation mega-terror over Israel, in the form of a plane coming through one of the borders and crashing into a target in Israel," he said. "The system should be operational by the end of the year."

Code Positive was developed by Israeli firm Elbit Systems. Shenar declined to elaborate on the specific technology involved for security reasons.

But he said it would be impossible for a hijacker to force a pilot to hand over identifying details, or otherwise pose as a legitimate member of the flight crew.

"You can't bluff this system," Shenar said.
Planes without the Code Positive system will be turned back from Israeli airspace on pain of being shot down, an official said. The Israelis will begin distributing the cards in May.