View Full Version : Swiss flight "robbed" on the apron in Brussels

18th Feb 2013, 20:59
How on earth could this happen (if true)??

Armed Robbery On LX789 @ BRU Airport — Civil Aviation Forum | Airliners.net (http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/5694086/)

"Tonight arround 20h00 (8PM) a group of armed robbers (some sources say 8 armed with automatic weapons, driving in 2 vehicles) attacked flight LX789 (Fokker F100) of Swiss, the evening flight to ZRH and robbed the plane which was just loaded with a valuable cargo by Brinks. The cargo is rumoured to be a significant amount of diamonds, no value yet available. The diamonds where scheduled to fly to Zurich."

18th Feb 2013, 21:16
Was waiting for that to happen...Almost always when flying to
BRU we would have valuable cargo...we sometimes were making our own plans on the flight deck:E

Hotel Tango
18th Feb 2013, 21:20
Now just imagine they were 8 determined suicide bombers! What it spells out is that what masquarades as security at airports is just one big con. But we knew that anyway.

18th Feb 2013, 21:48
Hollywood has already done this one, check out "Heist", which involved a shipment of gold headed to Switzerland!
Great cast, Gene Hackman, Danny DiVito, written by David Mamet.
A very good flick with some attention to detail, a trade mark of Mamet.
No special effects or CGI but enough twists to leave your head spinning.
This one is not over till it is over.

18th Feb 2013, 22:26
A similar situation happened on a Swissair flight I was working on as a flight attendant in 1995 or 1996 (can't remember). Also in BRU on a late evening flight back to ZRH. It was on a MD80. During the turn to line up on the runway. A pax suddenly stood and shouted that there was a car and some masked men at the back of the plane. A colleague f/a ran to the cockpit. The first officer opened his window and looked back,...saw what was happening. We then rolled all the way down the runway at relatively high speed and ordered to park in a remote area of the airport. The aft cargo door was open. We then spent some time with pax and police in the terminal. Flight was cancelled and I remember the long, generous drink(s) the whole crew had back at the hotel.

18th Feb 2013, 22:52
As inconvenient and invasive as airport security is to passengers, crew and ground support personnel, it doesn't seem to be much of a problem for motivated and reasonably competent criminals. But then that's true everywhere. While it is possible to have a very high level of physical security just about anywhere, very few people really want to live like that and so tend not to be supportive of the measures necessary to achieve it.

18th Feb 2013, 22:57
How on earth could this happen (if true)??

Unfortunately it's true, one of the cars was found burned in a town near Brussels.

A source says the stolen load includes 10 kilograms or diamonds, some sources say they also got some gold.

At 11h00 CET there will be a press briefing by the justice department.

Actually, I'm not surprised they got through the fence, this is quite easy to do at nearly every airport but what I don't understand is that they were able to breach the fence (which is protected by camera's and maybe even motion detection) and use the same hole again to escape. Most of they time when you drive past the airport fence you'll have a 90% chance to pass one or multiple police vehicles, yet they managed to breach the fence, drive over the tarmac, rob the plane, load everything in the vehicles and drive away via the same way they came in. I would have expected to have police at the fence in minutes after the breach was detected. But apparently they didn't got there in time even though it's being said the robbery took about 10 minutes which is quite sufficient to react upto.

Oh well, our police hadn't the best of reputations (except in some specialised fields), I guess they proved it again today...

18th Feb 2013, 23:57
I just hope they were all wearing their high-viz jackets or there really will be trouble.

19th Feb 2013, 01:49
Smells obviously of an inside job... But it is indeed strange that they could get in and out of the airport perimeter without being bothered.

Loose rivets
19th Feb 2013, 03:03
Read Richard Feynman's account of driving into the most secure place on Earth - and then driving out via a downed fence, only to come in again, and again and again. It was then they told him not to be so silly.

The place was Los Alamos, the secrecy, the Manhattan project.

I used to take money to Bern. New money by the Dak load. I once drove my car over a similar downed fence and parked at LGW for the day. When we got to the (preloaded) aircraft, there was an old guy asleep in a van near the rear door. When we got to Burn, we were met with tanks and a lot of soldiers.

As it happens, I had a snooze on the money on the way down.

19th Feb 2013, 03:28
The Stopwatch Gang was implicated in the 1974 robbery of gold bars from the Ottawa airport.

A member was also suspected in the 1990 Dorval robbery from a taxiing aircraft under charter by Brinks. The perimeter fence was crashed by a garbage truck and followed by two vans. Shortly before a diversionary pipe bomb had gone off some distance away.

Airplane Thieves Flee With $13.7 Million in Gold, Valuables (http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1990/Airplane-Thieves-Flee-With-$13-7-Million-in-Gold-Valuables/id-24b09833d4d6ffc6dd069152625851bb)

de facto
19th Feb 2013, 05:27
I just hope they were all wearing their high-viz jackets or there really will be trouble.

Good one:E:ok:

19th Feb 2013, 07:15
According to the latest info the robbers weren't able to fetch to whole load of diamonds, the left part of it but the value of the stolen diamonds is said to be 50 million EUR. However, English language media, including Reuters are writing the load had an estimated value of 350 million EUR. The worst part is that it were uncut, rough diamonds which makes them virtually untraceable and easy to sell. The whole heist at the plane didn't last longer then 3 minutes. Later one of the used cars (a Mercedes Vito) was found burning. They used blue lights on the cars to be able to make a quick getaway. The diamonds were loaded at Antwerp and where transported by Brink's specialised diamond division Brink's Diamond & Jewellery Services.

Unfortunately this isn't the first time a robbery took place at Brussels Airport, in 2005, 2001, 2000, 1995 and 1982 similar actions happened where either diamonds, gold or other valuable good were stolen. This robbery however seems to be the most valuable of all.

19th Feb 2013, 07:20
There was a similar robbery around (if I remember) 96-98. If memory serves me well they entered that time via the gate at the Cargo end of the apron.

Halton Brat
19th Feb 2013, 07:31
Also happened at Luxembourg airport in 2000; shots fired, people injured, access/egress via fence. I was working there a few years ago when a similar high-value flight arrived; SWAT team, armoured personnel carriers, roof-top snipers, dogs, the lot.

Nothing that happens in Belgium surprises me - I worked at LGG for a year..................

19th Feb 2013, 07:44
All pilots and pax must pass the airport security check.

Is it time to include all the robbers as well? :}

LGW Vulture
19th Feb 2013, 07:58
Can't see this being reported anywhere on the news feeds?!?

Kerosene Kraut
19th Feb 2013, 08:20
Robbed stuff said to be 10 kg of diamonds worth 350 Million Euros.

19th Feb 2013, 08:36
If true it will certainly be a contender for the heist of the century ...

blind pew
19th Feb 2013, 08:36
Swsissair DC9 robbed at Rome in 1981 - when intercepted along the taxiway called company and ground frequencies which suddenly went quiet.
first officer descended to close aft freight door. Cargo found missing in Zrh.

19th Feb 2013, 08:43
GBP300 million!

Armed Robbers In £300m Belgium Diamond Heist (http://news.sky.com/story/1054011/armed-robbers-in-300m-belgium-diamond-heist)

19th Feb 2013, 08:46
Can't see this being reported anywhere on the news feeds?!?

Multi-Million Diamond Heist at Brussels Airport - ABC News (http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/armed-men-diamond-heist-brussels-airport-18534283)
Armed robbers in $467 million diamond heist at Brussels airport - World News (http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/19/17013510-armed-robbers-in-467-million-diamond-heist-at-brussels-airport?lite)
BRUSSELS: 8 armed men in diamond heist at Brussels airport - World Wires - MiamiHerald.com (http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/19/3241794/8-armed-men-in-diamond-heist-at.html)
Robbers steal diamonds worth '£300m' in daring raid on Brussels airport - Europe - World - The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/robbers-steal-diamonds-worth-300m-in-daring-raid-on-brussels-airport-8500565.html)
Armed gang in airport diamonds raid - Independent.ie (http://www.independent.ie/world-news/armed-gang-in-airport-diamonds-raid-29080715.html)
Giant diamond heist at Brussels airport: prosecutors | My Sinchew (http://www.mysinchew.com/node/83145?tid=37)
Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/diamonds-stolen-in-belgian-airport-heist/story-fn3dxix6-1226581383356)


19th Feb 2013, 08:50
GBP300 million!I think they made an error somewhere. The load was presumably 10 kilograms (22 lbs) of diamonds which equals about 50.000 carats. Now if it was cut diamonds then this should indeed be worth about 350 million EUR, however they were uncut, rough diamonds and thus far more less valuable then cut diamonds. However, since they are uncut, rough diamonds they are virtually untraceable and thus easy to sell.

At this point it is said that the value of the heist is estimated at 50 million (some say USD, others say EUR) which is still a very significant amount of money...

19th Feb 2013, 09:04
Yeah, but look: The guys who broke in weren't carrying any yoghurts or liquids that were more than 100ml, so what's the problem?

mr Q
19th Feb 2013, 09:46
Does it count as lost baggage ??
If so the airline liability for the loss will be minimal under the various
Conventions & Protocols the Airlines conveniently negotiate for their fee paying passengers

19th Feb 2013, 09:58
Does it count as lost baggage ??
If so the airline liability for the loss will be minimal under the various
Conventions & Protocols the Airlines conveniently negotiate for their fee paying passengers Baggage is something a person checks in, this was high value cargo loaded on a scheduled flight.

19th Feb 2013, 10:01
The press conference didn't bring much new things to light:

- 2 cars drove onto the tarmac through the fence (cars were equiped with blue lights)
- 4 armed robbers per car
- Armed robbers where wearing uniforms similar to police uniforms
- Security personnel, pilot, co-pilot, red cap held at gun point during robbery
- 120 packages full of diamonds were taken
- Estimated value yet unknown
- 1 of the cars was found burning moments later
- Big police alert issued after the robbery, investigation ongoing

19th Feb 2013, 10:14
LGW - BBC now on the case!

BBC News - 'Gigantic' Brussels Airport diamond heist (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21504112)

Probably used a random number generator for the amount of dosh ;)

19th Feb 2013, 10:17
Baggage is something a person checks in, this was high value cargo loaded on a scheduled flight.

And surely insured as such (high value cargo, that is!), though after such a big security fiasco insurance premiums are definitely going to skyrocket! :}

19th Feb 2013, 10:44
wow 10 kg of diamonds thats a lot of grey boxes .use to do a flight a manchester once every 3 months that use to have 3kg of dimonds and 500kg gold bars . amazing how heavey a little wooden box with 10 gold bars in it is and a pain in the arse to move


Ex Cargo Clown
19th Feb 2013, 10:54
Know of an airport that once listed a shipment of Intel processors as "Short Shipped" even though arrived just over a ton, christ knows how much that would be worth.

Also the famous story of a certain airline's staff room being held open with a dusty gold ingot as a doorstop.

19th Feb 2013, 11:07
This story nicely illustrates the true value of aviation 'security'.

Embuggerence value? Huge.

Security value? Negligable.

Deterrence value to determined people? Less than zero.

19th Feb 2013, 11:12
If I recall correctly this actually happened before in BRU years ago. It was either diamonds or gold that was being transported across the airport. It departed one side of the airport but never arrived on the other end. Far as I know this was never solved.

19th Feb 2013, 11:42
It happened quite a few time in BRU, in 1982, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2005. Either diamonds, gold or other valuables where stolen then. The biggest heist in Belgium however happened off airport in the diamont center of Antwerp where 100 million EUR (official number, unofficially much higher) mostly in diamonds were stolen in 2003.

It was reported that this heist had a value of 50 million EUR but apparently they came back to this number and are now saying that they don't know the value of the heist. Thus it can be much lower but also much higher. The official version is that 120 packages of diamonds were stolen during the heist.

Ancient Observer
19th Feb 2013, 12:03
Spelling police having a sleep at the Sky website.....

"cut a whole in a perimeter fence"

Ex Cargo Clown
19th Feb 2013, 12:19
No way this wasn't an inside job! Who else would have access to the manifest?

19th Feb 2013, 13:36
No way this wasn't an inside job! Who else would have access to the manifest? This type of heist is always an inside job. Who would go to the trouble of putting together an armed commando and taking a huge risk (or maybe not, as no shots at all were actually fired from the other side :}) by forcefully penetrating a secure area, only to most likely find the hold filled with common, worthless luggage? Lots of people employed in security firms who would gladly sell out for just a (relatively) small chunk out of a 50million+ loot.

19th Feb 2013, 13:50
The value is probably based on estimated potential maximum, a good game to allow journalists unlimited scope for guesswork and speculation.

There was a similar heist at JNB in 2006, from an SAA aircraft about to depart for London.

19th Feb 2013, 14:41
What I am curious about is who will buy the uncut diamonds and where will they be cut?

The above places close by but the trade is tightly controlled by DeBeers/oppenheimers and other notable folks. Antwerp has its fair share of crooks and the Jewish community has its black sheep as do the rest of us but would have thought it too obvious.

Are the stones off to India or somewhere similar where there are decent cutters and a big market for sparkly glass?

Back in the 1990s was FO on a BA 75 that flew half a tonne of gold from Toronto to JFK the armoured car which delivered it also followed us out towards the runway...

19th Feb 2013, 15:07
Tel Aviv, New York also diamond cutting centres.

19th Feb 2013, 15:15
didnt this happen once before at EBBR??

19th Feb 2013, 15:37
Had you read the thread you wouldn't be asking.

19th Feb 2013, 15:42
Yes, multiple times like I said before:

1982, 1995 (value 1,8 million EUR), 1999 (again value 1.8 million EUR), 2000 (value 6,25 million EUR), 2001, 2005 and now 2013 though they didn't all include diamonds. Brinks was involved before.

However the largest robbery of diamonds happened in the Antwerp Diamond Center back in 2003 when officially a minimum of 100 million EUR in diamonds where taken. Unofficially the number was much higher. The diamonds were never to be found.

Apparently the BRU heist of yesterday has the dark honor to be the largest heist with an aircraft involved. :(

19th Feb 2013, 15:48
What I am curious about is who will buy the uncut diamonds and where will they be cut?
Middle East (including Israel). They won't get market value but I'm pretty sure it can be done if they are patient and well organized (far from obvious with such a large crew, that's their biggest Achilles' heel, but time only will tell).
I really like this quote from the Airport security manager "We abide by the most stringent rules, he said"...

Ex Cargo Clown
19th Feb 2013, 18:41
We had a nice shiny VAL cargo box sat in our office one day, I could have walked out with it and never worked again. Inside Cargo job 100%

19th Feb 2013, 19:11
Lets see ....

Uncut = 50M
Cut = 350M

This "cutting" activity seems to be a very good business :D

19th Feb 2013, 19:30
Following the Glasgow burning Jeep incident a few years ago, I was impressed by the bollards, diversions and moving of the traffic lines away from terminals to protect those assets.

Well done Transec and all the other bodies allegedly working to keep us safe!!

Alas, the miles of chainlink fence, occasionally out of view to either Tower or some CCTV cameras remains just that.

So all our wild-eyed hairy-faced fundamentalist friends need to do is to repeat the Glasgow manoeuvre but this time take the Jeep full of burning gas canisters, or the cut-price version could use concrete blocks, and charge into the path of the "Heavy" nearing V1 on the runway via pre-cut (at night) fence and make the headlines big time.

What's Transec and DfT doing to address this? Oh yes, I forgot, my 200mls of sun-tan lotion will be confiscated by the jobsworths along with all the other window-dressing measures called Aviation Security.

C'mon Transec/DfT, let's have some positive response for a change???:ugh:

19th Feb 2013, 19:31
Lets see ....
Uncut = 50M
Cut = 350M
This "cutting" activity seems to be a very good business :D
Mohel than you'll ever know. :}:hmm:

19th Feb 2013, 20:12
What a bunch of shmucks the security at this airport. It happened so many times, they didnt learn anything.

What I dont get is how on earth those cars werent chased right away. Pilots and other staff that witnesed the event had access to radio to raise the alarm, didnt they?

Brussels is also home for so many EU institutions, NATO......you would expect to have the most secure airport in the world.
Having said that Im happy the guys were only after the gems. I dont want to imagine the picture if they were there for other purpose with all those guns near the planes.....

19th Feb 2013, 22:39
Anyone else annoyed at the glamourising of criminals? Channel 4 news described it as a "Daring Jewel Heist" as though this was a film of the type mentioned earlier on in the thread.

How about "Violent Jewel Robbery"?

19th Feb 2013, 23:06
Maybe they really were the police - just a thought ...:suspect:

19th Feb 2013, 23:40
Maybe they could make a Hollywood movie out of it :)
Brinks could offer the movierights for 50 million :8

20th Feb 2013, 00:12

Honestly, this could happen anywere in the world... It "may" look like Brussels airport isn't a secure airport but actually it is quite secure. I've been at BRU behind the screens a couple of times and the airport is more secure then one would think. I've been at some big and one major airport in the USA and it was amazing how easy it was to get in secure area's of the airport.

For example when I am invited to BRU (one of my suppliers has a facility in the secure area airside) I need to fax my ID card, I need to give a reason for the visit and then they perform a background check on me before I get a pass for the airport. Then when arriving at the airport my ID is checked with my pass and then I go through screening like every traveller does. IMHO quite secure...

Back in 2006 I was invited to visit a certain airport in California, this during my stay at a certain department. Hours later we arrived at the airport, we ran the bell at a backside entrance and where let in. We visited the airport, we spend some time at it, we discussed things, etc... All without any restrictions. I didn't need to give an ID nor I went through any screening.

In 2009 I was in Texas and was again invited to a certain major airport. We arrived at the location and again rang a bell, this time at a on site police office. We introduced ourself and were were given direction to where we needed to be, within minutes we were walking airside at this airport. Again, no ID check, no screening, they even didn't care to guide us to where I needed to be, just got directions and off we went. Again no restriction when we were at the airport.

I honestly admit that they knew I was going to visit but contrary to BRU I didn't need to send my passport, not even my ID card.

2 years ago when I was in the USA for a vacation I passed by an airport (non pax, only cargo, storage, ...) and I thought by myself let us visit it. Same thing happened, we rang the bell and where let through, minutes later we were airside. No advance notice, nothing...

The only thing needed to enter the airport was to introduce ourselfs as (Belgian) firefighters (which we really were but also herefor no prove was necessary) and the doors went wide open... If you try to do the same thing at BRU you won't get very far, actually you won't get anywhere unless you went through the proper procedures...

Regarding driving through the fence? I can name you dozens of airports where this is possible, hell most likely every single airport in the world will have a weak spot here or there. Where they went through the fence it's a desolate area used to park construction vehicles working at the airport but which are parked landside. It's quite a distance from there to where the planes are but BRU has some decent roads in the airport perimeter so I can imagine that they were able to drive quickly to their target.

I'm not sure there is much that can changed to the airport to avoid such cases in the future, maybe they need to build a new fence, maybe they need to use solid steel/iron instead of using the regular fence material (iron wires). But even then it's not guaranteed that they won't break through this also... Maybe motion detection, but I would asume they have that allready?

Where they could improve is the response time of the cops... It's one thing to break through a fence, drive to an airplane an rob it but it's another thing to drive through the same hole (located at a far distance of the plane) and get away with it... 500m from the location where the fence is broken there's a airport inspection site, less then 1,5 kilometers you'll have the main terminal where there are multiple cops guarding the airport (and annoying people that drop travellers and park to long). The moment the breach was noticed (afaik the whole perimeter is guarded with camera's) they should have started a big police alarm and since there is virtually only one way out (the road where the fence was breached is a dead end road) they should been able to stop then or at least meet then when they left. But apparently they ware easily able to get away before the cops arrived... But maybe they argued over who would take the call, typical Belgian there are several agencies responsable... You'll have the regular Federal Police which is responsable outside the terminal, then you have the Airport devision of the Federal Police which are responsible airside and then you have a private company responsable inside the property... I wouldn't be surprised if they argued first for a while before deciding who would take the call :E

20th Feb 2013, 00:29
I thought all airports had gates specially designed to be driven though without being opened by heavy-enough fire engines. So the perimeter will always have a few unavoidable weak spots. However elsewhere it should be possible to dig a moat or build a berm just inside the wire. something to use the snow-vlearing kit for during the summer?

20th Feb 2013, 04:33
@ Bralo20
For example when I am invited to BRU (one of my suppliers has a facility in the secure area airside) I need to fax my ID card, I need to give a reason for the visit and then they perform a background check on me before I get a pass for the airport. Then when arriving at the airport my ID is checked with my pass and then I go through screening like every traveller does. IMHO quite secure...

This existing "security" circus works only for the good guys. Did the violent robbers fax their ID cards and state their reason for their brief visit?

stator vane
20th Feb 2013, 06:23
at STN the security will clamp down on the flight crew even more now!

20th Feb 2013, 08:32

Well, the matter here is not about security inside de terminal, pax screening, liquids in the bags...etc

Its about making the whole airport secure against easy penetration. They failed big time when you think it happened so many times in the past. I dont get it.....motion sensors, cameras.....there was obviously a big whole in the system that the guys took advantage of.

Brussels is a high profile airport, because they have the EU and NATO institutins and because so many valuables are being trassported via this hub on regular basis. You would think that this kind of robberies are out of question...guns and cars on the ramp?! Lets get real, it is as serious as it can get.

Although the operation was fast, authorities had time to respond, to raise the alarm. Nothing happened.....It is outrageous.

20th Feb 2013, 09:08
As this seems to be a regular occurrence at EBBR, often involving Brinks, maybe they should be looking for an office cleaner who flies a helicopter between his yacht and house in Switzerland?

I remember taking charge of quite a few high-value packages going into EHAM and EBBR. Talking to someone in the diamond industry, they said that couriers often walked between establishments in Antwerp with £millions in their pockets but were hardly ever troubled. I asked why and he replied "You can run but you can't hide. They'll get you in the end." :ooh:

20th Feb 2013, 09:11
A rusted rickety fence is all that lies between the roadside and the threshold of runway 27L LHR. Perfect for a drive thru attack. :ugh:

20th Feb 2013, 09:25
And on-topic, I suppose airports are limited in how they can build their perimeter fences.

I think we all agree that you cannot turn an airfield into a bunker, as that would pose lots of problems in normal operations. What we really need is a system where unlawful entry is immediately detected and an appropriate and effective response (i.e. armed) is initiated without undue delay. This is obviously not the case in Bruxelles and god knows how many other major fields. :mad:

Halton Brat
20th Feb 2013, 09:32

One of the most basic of security principles is the 'need to know'.

As a B747/777 engineer, I would not discuss such detailed aircraft access information/advice with total strangers in a bar. I fail to see how broadcasting it so blatantly in an open-access forum could be construed to be in the best interests of aviation security.

20th Feb 2013, 10:20
One of the most basic of security principles is the 'need to know'.
Utter BS... Security by obscurity is very bad practice, regardless of the field. The only security that works is when issues are discussed and taken care of.

As for the heist I certainly agree that breaching the perimeter fence is something that could happen almost anywhere - no need to hide it from public forums either. The whole question is how they managed to get away undisturbed

Halton Brat
20th Feb 2013, 10:40
Atakacs, your naivety on this subject is evident; security of sensitive information is central to any effective security system - we do not deliberately feed the 'opposition' with valuable insights.

Certainly, we can & should discuss events such as this in the public domain, without revealing detailed aspects of procedure & operations - it is immaterial whether such information could be gleaned from other sources by intelligent & determined research. By observing such 'good practice', we are ultimately looking after our ourselves, our colleagues & the public. A quarter of a century in military service, before my civil aviation career, instilled this in me.

This audacious robbery (I object to the glamourising americanism 'heist'; this was an armed robbery - people can & will be killed in such) could & should have been prevented by a major police presence on the Ramp at the scene, such as I have witnessed at other airports when high-value cargo is being moved.

20th Feb 2013, 11:50
Guys, you dont need a concrete wall to have a safe wall. Thats last century defense...

Most of the airports have an extensive network of cameras part of an integrated security system. Motions sensors and all that jazz. To have such a breach and the guys to get away is appaling.

Many secured perimetres are using a double wire fence with a gap in between them. It just takes longer to penetrate, allows the security watchmen to observe and intervene, if somebody tries. Im not familiar with BRU, however its amazing how they didnt learn anything from the past experiences.

LE: photos and details.
Diamond heist: Robbers steal £32m worth of precious stones at Brussels Airport | Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2280974/Diamond-heist-Robbers-steal-32m-worth-precious-stones-Brussels)

Otto Throttle
20th Feb 2013, 13:19
I'm in BRU a couple of times next month. I do hope someone will be kind enough to bung some diamonds my way if they really are so plentiful that they can afford to be so careless. A couple of kilos will be fine, after all I'm not greedy & given their security is clearly as watertight as a fishing net, I'd prefer to keep them in my hand baggage.

Heathrow Harry
20th Feb 2013, 16:40
"Most of the airports have an extensive network of cameras part of an integrated security system. Motions sensors and all that jazz. To have such a breach and the guys to get away is appaling."

it's an old army maxim that it doesn't matter what barriers & obstacles you put in place if no-one is watching them they are at best an inconvenience to the bad guys

20th Feb 2013, 16:48
The answer is simple - Lousy security at this airport.
I also blame Brinks - they should have known better and be more prepared.
It was just a matter of time. LX will also have to review their procedures.

20th Feb 2013, 19:30
Wouldya lay off woodja51 and give him credit for trying to highlight a genuine security concern!

If he has tried by conventional and normal channels to alert those higher in the food chain to a weakness in the security setup and been rebuffed or ignored, then I applaud his courage in posting it here.

I was reluctant myself to offer the "burning jeep into the path of the V1 aircraft" scenario in case the wrong people see it and have a go. But I don't see any means to communicate such a possibility to the faceless ones who took and take such pleasure at making aircrew lives so unpleasant as we transit to our work, whilst leaving these opportunities for terrorist actions untouched.

Following the next avation terrorist success, they will blandly and complacently brag about the post 9/11 measures introduced, whilst avoiding the question as to why these potential weak points were not addressed to prevent or make more difficult such an attack.

As in most things connected with aviation, it's once again "The Tombstone Imperative" which will get action taken-AFTER THE EVENT.

Let's wake up and smell the coffee, there's a lot of money needs to be spent on airfield security, but airport owners and regulatory authorities who are beholden to them are only interested in cramming another retail outlet into the shopping centre beside the runway(s).

woodja51 reminds me of the NHS whistleblower recently highlighted in the scandals affecting UK hospitals, who tried but was gagged and paid off to keep schtum about safety issues.

woodja, I sincerely applaud you and wish you all the best in pushing water uphill!!:ok:

20th Feb 2013, 19:46
Surprised that it's still chain link fencing. I got involved in perimeter security in a railwa rolling stock depot context a few years ago and we went for high spec weldmesh panels topped with razor wire (and warning notices about the razor wire to protect our lawyers' ars*s against the risk of injury to the little tinkers with spraycans). The fences can be double-skinned to increase resistance to break-in. Still vulnerable to some extent to attack by circular saw, but time to get through the fence is significantly increased. It strikes me that if rail companies can make a case for this investment to protect against graffiti attacks, the air industry should be able to do so on the basis of the order-of-magnitude higher risks involved. But then what do I know....

20th Feb 2013, 21:49
May I remind you all of this incident! This guy stole a police car in the City, drove it to the airport! Broke through a fence and , well you can see the rest in the video!
BTW Are crew trained for situations like this? In the video you can see the cabin crew of the plane parked looking out and watching whats going on!They then shut the doors and push away the steps locking themselves in the plane! Is this standard security procedure? Or was it just a decision taken by the crew at that moment? AFAIK the plane was half boarded!


Ex Cargo Clown
20th Feb 2013, 23:11
It's not a case of what you know but who you know. Bit like all airport security intelligence is the key. Once had an ex at a busy International airport wander onto the ramp and into a 74F with Load sheet,F/P etc and just asked her to ask the skipper if PLOG fuel was OK. I was knackered and couldn't be bothered :) I trusted her, and a lot of this is all common sense, someone somewhere was looking at those manifests......

Roger Greendeck
21st Feb 2013, 01:45
Cost vs benefit. What was the value of the items stolen? What is the value of items stolen over time? How much do you need to spend to try and stop it? At some point you start getting deminishing returns. The more you want to stop people getting through the more it will cost. Keeping in mind that there are multiple threats that we are trying to defeat the costs and inconvenience can go up markedly and still there is a chance someone who is determined and can put a plan together will get through.

The second question 'after how did this happen?' is 'do we really need to do anything more to stop it or do we put it down to the price of doing business?'

I'm not saying that we should accept this sort of thing at a moral level but we already put up with stupid and ineffective measures that make our lives that much worse on a daily basis in the name of 'security'. Lets not have a knee jerk reaction and spend lots of money making life worse but no harder for the committed thief.

21st Feb 2013, 05:34
When there's miles of perimeter fence, some spots will be weaker than others from a security standpoint.

High value shipments typically rely upon "security by obscurity" to the great profit of certain moles. I would not be surprised if the spending habits of employees in the various concerns will be carefully monitored. Somebody may decide to take early retirement and not return from vacation in Brazil:E

Prevention of this kind of robbery requires an armed motorised escort until cleared for takeoff and the same at the end of the landing run.

But if the armed escort disables the robbers' vehicles, you end up with a bunch of seriously armed men running around the tarmac with potentially thousands of innocent people about-- potentially very messy.

The airport authorities might prefer these folks vacate the premises pronto and let the police do their work.

21st Feb 2013, 18:20
Hi, not sure of the flack I may have recieved from other posters( my posts seem to disappear? ) but thank you for your words of encouragement.

While I take little pleasure in having to post information of a sensitive nature on open sites, it is only after much frustration with a lack of action that leads me inexorably to do this.

Blood in the streets appears to be the only way humans can react to " black swan events" regardless of how often they are told...

I appreciate comments of encouragement when it appears to me that official reaction is that of general denial.. Note three more suspected terrorists arrested in UK for planned back pack attacks... Do you think the world is safer since 9/11? Me thinks not!

For those critical of my spreading of information to those who should not know, simple solution is to fix the problem not live in hope...

And yes after 13 years in the military, need to know is vital to security, but the internet has pretty much blown that one out of the water... Now we have to assume the other side knows and act accordingly..

Risk = probability x consequence. If the product of these is high do something about it rather than hope someone cleverer than you is covering the problem... Chances are they are not...

21st Feb 2013, 19:09
Something to remember is that the bad guys will use Prune for info and confirmation by aviation professionals.
I think most of us are aware that intelligence is gathered, not all neatly laid out, but by piecing together little snippets of new info and confirmation of existing knowledge.
We should avoid giving info or putting ideas into heads.

22nd Feb 2013, 00:05
ex-Sabena employees trying to get their money back from Swiss?

22nd Feb 2013, 04:54
Agreed , but if we assume that over the course of time these ideas will evolve, is it not best to do something about it early.. And if the recent sequestering ( ie budget cuts) in the US are going to cause a reduction in TSA staff , then the potential holes get bigger... Of course all US citizens would be aware that the 2004 TSA act included a $2.40 per passenger TSA fee ... Which is about to be , if not already increased to 4.00.

Ipso facto if the passengers are paying for the security service, how can it be affected by budget cuts??? Ah.... Probably as the money just goes to consolidated revenue and not actually to the service it was instituted to actually provide... Just like nav charges and landing fees are supposed to cover ATC and aerodrome facilities ...

Once again money collected on a user pays basis in theory or as justification, but not actually used for what it was collected for... If it were budget cuts would have no effect as the system would be self sustaining.....

26th Feb 2013, 19:50
Of course we in this forum should NOT be putting ideas into the minds of the terrorist community, but alas as soon as this robbery hit the international news media, the chainlink fence weakness was exposed to all the world.

God forbid, but if such an attack takes place, the powers-that-be can not shelter behind the plea that they didn't know about it and didn't conceive of such a daring plan.

The same horse manure was trotted out by the 9/11 official whitewash, though the USA military and other authorities had been practising and drilling for "aircraft as missiles" well before that awful day. :(

6th Mar 2013, 01:53
The concerns I posted ( and got bagged about) regarding access to the E/E bay in Boeings was in part discredited by regulators,several airlines management based on the lack of easy ability to be able to penetrate the flooring (lino) which is generally intact- except in certain ME carriers 777s..... Well , now that issue has been conveniently discarded by the TSA....:ugh:

I have been invited but am yet to meet with two Australian senators and representatives from the transport workers unions ( oz) here that have shown interest in my concerns...but it appears that US crew are already (rightly ) concerned as to their inflight welfare.....in Australia the right to a reasonably safe work environment with foreseeable risks mitigated/ treated or removed is in legislation. Why is/are aviation / workers exempt?

The " as low as reasonably practical (ALARP) safety system is being replaced by Affordable level of safety (or ALOS) in new SMS's .... So exactly how does this relate to what is going on below????

What exactly is the cost versus benefit here and for who??........ Read below

From the Australian 06/03/13

POCKET knives and sports equipment - banned on US flights since the September 11, 2001 terrorism attacks - will be allowed back in aircraft cabins, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says.

Passengers will be able to carry knives with folding blades 6cm or shorter, as well as sporting goods such as golf clubs, hockey clubs, and novelty-sized baseball bats, the federal agency said.

TSA chief John Pistole says the new guidelines, which come into effect on April 25, will bring US security regulations into line with international standards.

Among the sporting goods to be allowed as carry-on baggage will be billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and up to two golf clubs, Mr Pistole said.

Baseball bats measuring 60cm or shorter and weighing no more than 680gm will also be permitted.

Box cutters, razor blades and knives that don't fold or that have moulded grip handles will still be prohibited, the TSA said.

"This is part of an overall risk-based security approach, which allows Transportation Security Officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives," Mr Pistole said.

( my comment ... Who needs explosives- i just told you how knowledge and NOW a readily available knife will down a jet if that is your objective and not actual control of the flight deck) :ugh::ugh:

The move drew an immediate outcry from unions representing flight attendants and other airline workers, who said the items are still dangerous in the hands of the wrong passengers.

Transport Workers Union Local 556, which represents over 10,000 flight attendants at Southwest Airlines, called the new policy "dangerous" and "short sighted," saying it was designed to make "the lives of TSA staff easier, but not make flights safer."

"While we agree that a passenger wielding a small knife or swinging a golf club or hockey stick poses less of a threat to the pilot locked in the cockpit, these are real threats to passengers and flight attendants in the passenger cabin," the union said in a statement.

There has been a gradual easing of some of the security measures applied to airline passengers after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

In 2005, the TSA changed its policies to allow passengers to carry on airplanes small scissors, knitting needles, tweezers, nail clippers and up to four books of matches.

27th Mar 2013, 16:26
I was working on the ramp at BRU when this little caper took place. The dispatchers were told over their radio that a robbery had occurred, and for the next half hour the police and security were all over the place. My aircraft left and I went to the security gate to leave, but was told I could not as the airport had been locked down. So my options were either a) There was a team of armed theives somewhere on the field or b) They had already left and the police were closing the stable door. Neither option was appealing and despite remonstrations to G4S I had an interminable and hungry wait airside in sub zero temperatures until the penny dropped and they let us off the apron..

28th Mar 2013, 20:13
numbawan-- I don't know why you want to place blame on Brinks (other than the fact that it is their responsibility and charge)-- you make it sound like they could have stopped it if they were doing their job properly.. that's ridiculous. They are inside a supposedly secure perimeter, and if you have ever witnessed cargo loading at night, especially at EBBR, its a busy place. Also, these guys were pros and I doubt anyone would have done any better-- sometimes bad things happen..

28th Mar 2013, 20:59
They are inside a supposedly secure perimeter, and if you have ever witnessed cargo loading at night, especially at EBBR, its a busy place. Also, these guys were pros and I doubt anyone would have done any better-- sometimes bad things happen.. Dunno .. about the security in place .. but if they had some .50 there in attendance (just for the time of transit values and take off ) this event had never happen
Guys with .50 are real pros

28th Mar 2013, 21:21
You mean like certain John Rambo?

29th Mar 2013, 09:05
Not at all .. I'm talking about pros .. those who should know that currently criminals are not armed with water pistols .. but weapons of modern warfare
It was no heavy armed security guards around this plane .. so a gold way for the criminals

29th Mar 2013, 10:57
If I may quote from a post of mine in Questions...

I'll believe that the Governments and airports are serious about security when I see some kind of realisation that until the huge gaps in the "security fence" around operating passenger aircraft are closed, there is no effective security. Pantomimes with searching little old ladies and 2-year old children, confiscating pilots' sandwiches and engineers' tools, stealing Iphones, and so on, notwithstanding.

As a one-time UK Airport Manager, who did the obligatory Security course in Curzon Street, I have some knowledge of the subject. 15 years prior experience of combating terrorist operations against aviation in the Middle East also helps.

The gaping holes include those created by airside retailing, cargo acceptance and heavy maintenance at third party facilities. There are more, but closing those would be a good start, and will never,ever, happen. "Costs far too much, old boy, do get real."

Until, of course, there is a major loss of American lives in an incident which could have been prevented by closing one of those gaps.

Ex Cargo Clown
29th Mar 2013, 17:15
I used to have an airside pass, go to Burger King and havee to have it X-Rayed, go airside and do whatever I wanted and just walk out. I can tell you a million ways to breach security, not daft enough to though

1st Apr 2013, 07:29
Even Kabul is safer then that.

2nd Apr 2013, 13:08
jcjeant- How do you know what the Brink's guards had in terms of weaponry? Brink's is a reputable security company with a lot of experience-- as those types of companies go, probably the best in the business--and as such I'm sure had the appropriate amount of armament for what they deemed necessary. When you're out on a public thoroughfare you expect the worst from everyone- everyone has access...When you're in a secure area you expect the worst from the type of people who would have access to that type of area-- the pros that committed the robbery were just that--pros. They were dressed as police identical to all the other well-armed police all throughout the secure area.There was 1 Brink's truck with 3-4 guards all of a sudden being surrounded by 2 police vehicles with 8 armed 'policemen'. Sometimes, as in this case, their element of surprise is what turns the tide in their favor. When you turn around and find a bunch of automatic weapons in your face you don't sign your own death warrant by trying to bring your own weapons to bear.

Ex Cargo Clown
2nd Apr 2013, 13:25
I've walked around with VAL cargo boxes worth 100,000s of pounds never felt the need for an AK47! This is an inside job

8th May 2013, 10:25
Reports of 30+ arrests being made in this case !

BBC News - Arrests over $50m Belgium airport diamond heist (http://bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22447516)

8th May 2013, 13:41
This reminds me of the Lufthansa heist at JFK. A smooth operation and little to go on until the mob of characters started blowing the money "Goodfellows"

VH-Cheer Up
9th May 2013, 05:23
Yup, news even made it Dunnunda (http://www.smh.com.au/world/50m-diamond-theft-33-arrested-as-police-swoop-20130508-2j8ar.html)...

Big Heist. Bigger Arrests.