Air Transportation

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RAND research on air transportation has examined a wide range of topics, including air traffic control, air safety and security, fuel systems, and accident investigations.

Explore Air Transportation

  • Blog

    The Flight 370 Mystery Gets Political

    Why might unnamed sources try to link Anwar to a potential hijacking of an aircraft carrying 239 passengers? Possibly to divert attention from the government's ineffective management of the search in the days since the plane's disappearance.

    Mar 19, 2014

  • Blog

    Want to Create Problems? Arm the TSA

    With its current 47,000 screeners, an armed TSA would become the federal government's largest armed entity outside of the military. In the eyes of many, arming TSA screeners would change the image of the organization from a service aimed at guaranteeing safe air travel to an unwanted imposition of federal authority.

    Nov 7, 2013

  • Blog

    Airport Violence—Not a New Phenomenon

    Shootings at airports are nothing new, writes Brian Michael Jenkins. In fact, they have regularly occurred worldwide in recent years. The motives have included terrorism, crime, and mental illness.

    Nov 2, 2013

  • Solution

    Increasing Air Security with "Trusted Travelers"

    Long lines at airport security checkpoints are a sign of the post-911 world. Can aviation security be more efficient? Better yet, could a “trusted traveler” program not only reduce traveler burden but also increase security?

    Sep 1, 2013

  • Report

    Identifying and Managing Air Force Sustainment Supply Chain Risks

    Examines supply chain risk management, including evolving commercial and Air Force practices.

    Jul 2, 2013

  • Report

    Commercial Intratheater Airlift: Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Use in U.S. Central Command

    Intratheater airlift delivers critical and time-sensitive supplies to deployed forces, but is it cost effective to use commercial, rather than organic Air Force, aircraft to supply this airlift?

    Apr 8, 2013

  • Blog

    More Secure or Less Free?

    It is not surprising that people report a willingness to trade convenience, money, and liberty for security. Legal precedent reinforces that decreased civil liberties may be accepted when confronting existential threats with demonstrably effective security—to a point, writes Henry H. Willis.

    Dec 17, 2012

  • Blog

    Fake Boarding Pass Fears Inflated

    Instead of ratcheting back the PreCheck program because of manufactured fears about security lapses, TSA should be encouraged to expand this program to more airlines, more airports and more infrequent travelers, write Jack Riley and Lily Ablon.

    Dec 12, 2012

  • Report

    Modernizing the Mobility Air Force for Tomorrow's Air Traffic Management System

    Building on RAND work examining the cost-effectiveness of modernizing the U.S. Air Force's KC-10 aerial refueling tanker to comply with airspace modernization mandates, this study extended the analysis to the C-5, C-17, C-130, and KC-135 fleets.

    Dec 6, 2012

  • Report

    An Assessment of TSA's Risk Management Analysis Tool Finds Some Gaps

    The Transportation Security Administration's RMAT has enabled a more sophisticated understanding of terrorism risks to the air transportation system, but TSA should not treat RMAT results as credible estimates. Rather, the results can help to inform the components of terrorism risk and possible influences of system changes on that risk.

    Nov 26, 2012

  • Blog

    TSA Procedures Need to Be Remade from Scratch

    It is time for a new approach to meeting America's next-generation aviation security needs, one that dodges the influence of politics and bureaucracies and relies instead on the resources and objectivity of independent researchers operating from a clean slate, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Sep 28, 2012

  • News Release

    Costs, Benefits, and Efficiency of Aviation Security Measures

    The threat of terrorist attack on American aviation has made the system the focus of intense security efforts, but it is difficult to determine if the benefits outweigh their cost. Efficient security policy—a focus on getting the most security for the least cost—should be the priority in an era of fiscal austerity.

    Aug 21, 2012

  • Report

    Weighing the Costs, Benefits, and Efficiency of Aviation Security Measures

    The threat of terrorist attack on American aviation has made the system the focus of intense security efforts, but it is difficult to determine if the benefits outweigh their cost. Efficient security policy—a focus on getting the most security for the least cost—should be the priority in an era of fiscal austerity.

    Aug 21, 2012

  • Blog

    Three Ways to Improve Airport Screening

    The TSA's pilot "Pre-check" program that pre-screens travelers who volunteer for it is an overdue advance in security, but it does not address some larger issues surrounding America's airports, writes K. Jack Riley.

    Mar 7, 2012

  • Journal Article

    Assessing the Security Benefits of a Trusted Traveler Program in the Presence of Attempted Attacker Exploitation and Compromise

    Fears that terrorists may exploit the minimal security screening of trusted traveler programs have dissuaded the adoption of such programs. Such attempts would reduce the maximum potential security benefits of a program, but they would not eliminate those benefits in all circumstances.

    Mar 1, 2012

  • Report

    Options for Santa Monica Municipal Airport's Future

    The Santa Monica Municipal Airport can enhance the quality of life in the community by upgrading access; enhancing retail activity; developing a Sustainable Santa Monica Center; and expanding the Museum of Flying, outdoor athletic and recreation opportunities, and the presence of the performance and creative arts.

    Feb 23, 2012

  • Blog

    The Unmentionable Costs of Airline Security

    For most of the past decade, the U.S. has pursued policies with very little regard to the costs they impose on travelers or the net reduction in risk that they generate, writes K. Jack Riley.

    Sep 13, 2011

  • Blog

    Is it Time to Consider a New Approach to Airline Security?

    It may be possible that the development and deployment of improved security technologies and reconfigurations of security checkpoints will keep security one step ahead of terrorist adversaries, but it also may be an appropriate time to explore fundamentally new approaches, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Sep 1, 2011

  • Report

    Beyond the Shadow of 9/11

    The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks warrants a thoughtful review of America's progress and future strategy. In this RAND Review cover story, RAND experts offer perspectives on Afghan-led solutions, ways to counter al Qaeda, air passenger security, and compensation for those affected by terrorism.

    Sep 1, 2011