Israel’s national airline, El Al, has been called the safest airline in the world. No one has ever hijacked an El Al plane (except once, in 1968) and the airline has a perfect record for never crashing a passenger jet.
In an article by United with Israel, USA Today says, “El Al’s security kicks in long before the passenger will notice. Call an El Al office in any city to book a ticket, and your name will be checked against a computer list of terrorist suspects compiled by Interpol, the FBI, Shin Bet (Israel’s intelligence service) and others.”
In addition to vigorous background checks, the airline boasts steel doors that secure each plane cockpit, and armed air marshals on every flight, so passengers can feel safe (and be safe) when they fly.
These safety measures are taken because the Ben Gurion International Airport and El Al Airlines have been the targets of several terrorist attacks in the past. In 2002, terrorists attempted to take down an Israeli passenger jet with surface-to-air missiles (or SAMs). The missiles missed their target, but El Al is taking measures to be even safer.
An Israeli defense contractor, Elbit Systems, is creating an on-plane anti-missile defense system called C-MUSIC. The system will detect any incoming SAMs and disable the missiles with lasers, causing them to detonate. The system comes in a 9-foot x 2-foot x 2-foot capsule that attaches to the plane’s fuselage.
The plan is to equip all El Al planes with C-MUSIC, then all planes that are part of Isralei airlines; each C-MUSIC capsule is estimated to cost $3 million.