NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Until This Year, Airplane Hijackings Were a Foreign Problem

October 23, 2001

From 1992 through 2000, the U.S. completely avoided hijackings of commercial aircraft taking off from airports here. The rest of the world wasn't so fortunate, although the numbers of hijackings experienced by foreign countries declined for the most part throughout the 1990s.

Here are some of the statistics compiled by the Federal Aviation Administration in its recent report, "Criminal Acts Against Civil Aviation."

  • Hijackings averaged about 11 a year from 1995 through 1999 -- but rose to 20 in 2000.
  • There were 21 more hijackings in the 1990s than in the 1980s -- the peak year for foreign hijackings being 1990, with 40 incidents.
  • China and Russia had the most hijackings in the past decade -- accounting together for about 30 percent of the 182 incidents in more than 50 countries in the 1990s.
  • Nearly half of the hijackings from 1990 through 2000 were in Middle Eastern countries.

Canada hasn't had a hijacking in the past two decades and Mexico last had a hijacking in 1988.

Forty-four of 64 hijackings from 1996 through 2000 occurred on domestic flights within foreign countries.

Source: Gary Stoller, "Worries About International Hijackings Increase," USA Today, October 23, 2001.

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