1970’s: Terrorism Turns International.
Most aircraft hijackings are committed to use the passengers as hostages in an effort to either obtain transport to a given location or the release of comrades being held in prison. For many years it was a method of terrorism that was greatly feared in the West.
The hijacking of an aircraft is guaranteed international press coverage and presents the security forces of a country with a very difficult situation as an airliner with its few entry points and sealed outer skin becomes a fortress for a terrorist.
In 1969 there were 82 recorded hijack attempts worldwide, more than twice the total attempts for the whole period 1947-67. Most were Palestinians using hijacks as a political weapon to publicise their cause and to force the Israeli government to releasing Palestinian prisoners from jail.
In 1977-86 the total had dropped to 300 incidents and in 1987-96 this figure was reduced to 212. This reduction is possibly due to more advanced techniques in retaking hijacked airliners being developed by the worlds security forces.