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9·11事件给后疫情时代的航空业带来的启示

9·11事件给后疫情时代的航空业带来的启示

Mike Hofman 2021年09月13日
最显著的技术革新可能不是指在“9·11”之后机场安全措施的调整,而这些措施将自然而然地成为了我们在新冠疫情之后如何恢复“正常”生活的范例。

当美国生物识别技术及身份识别公司Clear Secure在今年6月上市时,人们认为后疫情时代的旅游业的重生时刻到来了。这家总部位于纽约市的公司在50多个机场提供生物识别安全检查,并在体育场馆、写字楼,甚至是该公司股票交易的纽约证券交易所提供其他检查服务。在首次上市之后,Clear Secure的市场估值为68亿美元,年收入为2.153亿美元。对一家在商业航空领域里苦苦挣扎的企业来说,这是十分漂亮的数字。

Clear Secure公司的上市体现了航空业在“9·11”事件后的20年里一直保持韧性和创新性。尤其值得一提的是,Clear Secure最强劲的竞争对手是美国运输安全管理局(Transportation Security Administration),它本身就是“9·11”事件之后,相关国家政策的产物。长期以来,美国运输安全管理局经常是旅客嘲笑的焦点,但事实证明,它确实取得了世间少有的成功:一个规模庞大、价值77.8亿美元的政府机构,工作效率与日俱增,同时也为私营部门的创新创造了一个良好的融资环境。

航空安全专家、丹佛大都会州立大学(Metropolitan State University of Denver)教授、《实用航空安全》(Practical Aviation Security)一书的合著者杰弗里·C·普莱斯说:“在‘9·11’事件之前,美国没有在航空安全方面投入资金。但在‘9·11’之后,由于所有的巨额资金都流入了美国运输安全管理局及其创新中心,你可以看到人们促进改变航空安全的不同类型的技术——我们现在看到这种创新技术被用于所有不同的行业。”

保障空中旅行安全的概念能够追溯到20世纪50年代和60年代初,当时劫持商用飞机首次成为一种威胁,尽管在那个年代,这比其他任何事情都更令人讨厌。普莱斯表示,当时典型的劫机者“只想要一袋钱,然后迅速前往古巴或墨西哥这种不会被引渡的国家”。

作为回应,美国政府启动了联邦空军元帅(Federal Air Marshal)计划,但并没有特别加强机场安全。劫机之后顺利逃脱仍然十分容易。1968年,劫机事件突然增多,美国几乎每周都会发生一起劫机事件。最引人注目的事件是飞机和乘客被绑架了好几天,有时被带到阿根廷或阿尔及利亚等遥远的地方。虽然美国政府加强了刑事处罚,但它的干预仍然是缓慢的,危机依然在蔓延。

随着恐怖分子开始意识到飞机和机场是可以成为袭击的目标的,问题再次恶化。随着威胁的扩散和对国家安全的影响,增加对乘客的安检——包括金属探测器和随身行李扫描——成为美国的国家标准,航空公司为此政策出资。

在一段时间内,新工作程序运行良好,但系统中存在漏洞,尤其是在国际上。1985年发生在罗马和维也纳机场的一系列劫机和袭击,以及1988年泛美航空(Pan Am Flight)的103航班在苏格兰洛克比上空的爆炸,都利用了这一点。航空和机场安全再次受到重视,在接下来的十年里,涉及美国飞机的事件很少发生。之后举世震惊的“9·11”事件就发生了。

在“9·11”恐怖袭击之后,航空业开始意识到,航空安全在很长一段时间里都是事后才考虑的,所以才造成了悲剧性的后果。“航空公司从成本效益分析的角度看待事物,你可以理解在整个20世纪90年代,航空公司暗自发问:‘为什么我们要为多年未发生的事情支付更多的安全费用?’”普莱斯说道。

根据普莱斯的说法,显然,航空公司安检处工作人员的工资往往很低,所以他们的人才流失率很高,有些设施的流失率高达每年100%。在犯罪背景调查等方面,对这些流动工人的审查情况参差不齐。这些审查工具也过时了:安检处使用的x光机很简陋,而且所用的配置是只能够识别一个包是否超大,而不是里面是否装了有问题的物品。与此同时,客运航班上的托运行李并不安全。

美国运输安全管理局于2001年11月立法成立,在最初的几年里,它在弥补这些航空安全工作缺陷方面付出了很大的努力。飞行成了一种负担。机场的公共场所排起了长队。虽然没有造成伤害,但恐怖分子在鞋子或者是内衣里藏着炸弹,引发了航空公司对乘客的新一轮审查。在幕后,运输安全管理局新的工作人员和设备挤满了候机楼。机场管理人员可能面临可租凭面积减少造成的损失,从而导致机场经济运营陷入混乱。

但是,如果乘客和机场工作人员觉得美国运输安全管理局傲慢无礼,技术供应商就会找到一个其他乐意合作的客户。例如,为了创建更好的成像系统,美国运输安全管理局花了20多亿美元与史密斯探测(Smiths Detection)、L3和Rapiscan系统等公司合作。最后的结果是:到2016年,那些曾经备受争议的、目前已经成为标准的全身扫描仪几乎被普遍使用。与此同时,美国运输安全管理局对生物识别技术越来越感兴趣,这种技术使用指纹、视网膜扫描和面部识别技术来验证已经接受过筛查的旅客的身份。

Clear最初是由美国律师创始人、企业家记者史蒂文·布里尔于2003年创办的,他写过一本书,名为《后“9·11”时代美国的重建和维稳》(After: The Rebuilding and Defending of America in the September 12 Era)。着眼于公司的经济增长,这家当时名为Verified Identity Pass Inc.的公司宣布,2008年8月它从包括雷曼兄弟(Lehman Brothers)和布里尔本人在内的一个团体筹集了超过4400万美元。但随后金融危机加剧(不到一个月后,雷曼兄弟申请破产),公司岌岌可危,最终于2009年停止运营。

次年,对冲基金经理卡琳·塞德曼-贝克尔和肯·科尼克收购了Clear的名字和资产,使其免于破产,并重新启动了这家公司。十年以来,业务已经超出了提供的背景调查(由TSA PreCheck具体操作)创建的范围。卡琳·塞德曼-贝克尔也是现在公司的首席执行官,形容其为“一个安全的身份平台”,使用生物识别信息提高其700万名成员在安全检查站的工作效率。

普莱斯说:“任何从事生物识别技术的人都处在一个快速增长的行业。在新冠疫情爆发前,美国运输安全管理局就开始研究生物识别技术,现在航空业又重生了。生物识别技术的优势之一是减少个人接触。我可能不需要碰你的登机牌或手机,就能够通过某种生物识别扫描来验证你的身份。我们也有机会利用生物识别技术加强机场工作人员的安全准入。”

潜在的商机很大,远远不只是在机场。至少在Clear的投资者在游说中如此认为。在Clear首次公开募股当天,塞德曼-贝克尔在接受美国消费者新闻与商业频道(CNBC)的《Squawk Box》节目采访时表示:“我们认为,Clear不仅在全球旅游领域存在巨大的机遇,而且还可以将Clear平台运用到许多不同的垂直领域。我希望,在几年内,航空是我们最小的垂直项目,因为其他的垂直项目要大得多。”

自首次公开募股(IPO)以来,Clear与美国网上订餐平台OpenTable合作,宣布了一项针对餐厅的新服务,提前告知客人在预订晚餐前接种了新冠疫苗。它还为参加纽约时装周(New York Fashion Week)的人,甚至是曼哈顿下城“9·11”纪念馆和博物馆(9/11 Memorial and Museum)的游客提供了疫苗接种证书。其他科技公司Aware、Daon和Yoti等也在研究生物识别技术的新应用。

因此,最显著的技术革新可能不是指在“9·11”之后机场安全措施的调整,而这些措施将自然而然地成为了我们在新冠疫情之后如何恢复“正常”生活的范例。(财富中文网)

编译:於欣

当美国生物识别技术及身份识别公司Clear Secure在今年6月上市时,人们认为后疫情时代的旅游业的重生时刻到来了。这家总部位于纽约市的公司在50多个机场提供生物识别安全检查,并在体育场馆、写字楼,甚至是该公司股票交易的纽约证券交易所提供其他检查服务。在首次上市之后,Clear Secure的市场估值为68亿美元,年收入为2.153亿美元。对一家在商业航空领域里苦苦挣扎的企业来说,这是十分漂亮的数字。

Clear Secure公司的上市体现了航空业在“9·11”事件后的20年里一直保持韧性和创新性。尤其值得一提的是,Clear Secure最强劲的竞争对手是美国运输安全管理局(Transportation Security Administration),它本身就是“9·11”事件之后,相关国家政策的产物。长期以来,美国运输安全管理局经常是旅客嘲笑的焦点,但事实证明,它确实取得了世间少有的成功:一个规模庞大、价值77.8亿美元的政府机构,工作效率与日俱增,同时也为私营部门的创新创造了一个良好的融资环境。

航空安全专家、丹佛大都会州立大学(Metropolitan State University of Denver)教授、《实用航空安全》(Practical Aviation Security)一书的合著者杰弗里·C·普莱斯说:“在‘9·11’事件之前,美国没有在航空安全方面投入资金。但在‘9·11’之后,由于所有的巨额资金都流入了美国运输安全管理局及其创新中心,你可以看到人们促进改变航空安全的不同类型的技术——我们现在看到这种创新技术被用于所有不同的行业。”

保障空中旅行安全的概念能够追溯到20世纪50年代和60年代初,当时劫持商用飞机首次成为一种威胁,尽管在那个年代,这比其他任何事情都更令人讨厌。普莱斯表示,当时典型的劫机者“只想要一袋钱,然后迅速前往古巴或墨西哥这种不会被引渡的国家”。

作为回应,美国政府启动了联邦空军元帅(Federal Air Marshal)计划,但并没有特别加强机场安全。劫机之后顺利逃脱仍然十分容易。1968年,劫机事件突然增多,美国几乎每周都会发生一起劫机事件。最引人注目的事件是飞机和乘客被绑架了好几天,有时被带到阿根廷或阿尔及利亚等遥远的地方。虽然美国政府加强了刑事处罚,但它的干预仍然是缓慢的,危机依然在蔓延。

随着恐怖分子开始意识到飞机和机场是可以成为袭击的目标的,问题再次恶化。随着威胁的扩散和对国家安全的影响,增加对乘客的安检——包括金属探测器和随身行李扫描——成为美国的国家标准,航空公司为此政策出资。

在一段时间内,新工作程序运行良好,但系统中存在漏洞,尤其是在国际上。1985年发生在罗马和维也纳机场的一系列劫机和袭击,以及1988年泛美航空(Pan Am Flight)的103航班在苏格兰洛克比上空的爆炸,都利用了这一点。航空和机场安全再次受到重视,在接下来的十年里,涉及美国飞机的事件很少发生。之后举世震惊的“9·11”事件就发生了。

在“9·11”恐怖袭击之后,航空业开始意识到,航空安全在很长一段时间里都是事后才考虑的,所以才造成了悲剧性的后果。“航空公司从成本效益分析的角度看待事物,你可以理解在整个20世纪90年代,航空公司暗自发问:‘为什么我们要为多年未发生的事情支付更多的安全费用?’”普莱斯说道。

根据普莱斯的说法,显然,航空公司安检处工作人员的工资往往很低,所以他们的人才流失率很高,有些设施的流失率高达每年100%。在犯罪背景调查等方面,对这些流动工人的审查情况参差不齐。这些审查工具也过时了:安检处使用的x光机很简陋,而且所用的配置是只能够识别一个包是否超大,而不是里面是否装了有问题的物品。与此同时,客运航班上的托运行李并不安全。

美国运输安全管理局于2001年11月立法成立,在最初的几年里,它在弥补这些航空安全工作缺陷方面付出了很大的努力。飞行成了一种负担。机场的公共场所排起了长队。虽然没有造成伤害,但恐怖分子在鞋子或者是内衣里藏着炸弹,引发了航空公司对乘客的新一轮审查。在幕后,运输安全管理局新的工作人员和设备挤满了候机楼。机场管理人员可能面临可租凭面积减少造成的损失,从而导致机场经济运营陷入混乱。

但是,如果乘客和机场工作人员觉得美国运输安全管理局傲慢无礼,技术供应商就会找到一个其他乐意合作的客户。例如,为了创建更好的成像系统,美国运输安全管理局花了20多亿美元与史密斯探测(Smiths Detection)、L3和Rapiscan系统等公司合作。最后的结果是:到2016年,那些曾经备受争议的、目前已经成为标准的全身扫描仪几乎被普遍使用。与此同时,美国运输安全管理局对生物识别技术越来越感兴趣,这种技术使用指纹、视网膜扫描和面部识别技术来验证已经接受过筛查的旅客的身份。

Clear最初是由美国律师创始人、企业家记者史蒂文·布里尔于2003年创办的,他写过一本书,名为《后“9·11”时代美国的重建和维稳》(After: The Rebuilding and Defending of America in the September 12 Era)。着眼于公司的经济增长,这家当时名为Verified Identity Pass Inc.的公司宣布,2008年8月它从包括雷曼兄弟(Lehman Brothers)和布里尔本人在内的一个团体筹集了超过4400万美元。但随后金融危机加剧(不到一个月后,雷曼兄弟申请破产),公司岌岌可危,最终于2009年停止运营。

次年,对冲基金经理卡琳·塞德曼-贝克尔和肯·科尼克收购了Clear的名字和资产,使其免于破产,并重新启动了这家公司。十年以来,业务已经超出了提供的背景调查(由TSA PreCheck具体操作)创建的范围。卡琳·塞德曼-贝克尔也是现在公司的首席执行官,形容其为“一个安全的身份平台”,使用生物识别信息提高其700万名成员在安全检查站的工作效率。

普莱斯说:“任何从事生物识别技术的人都处在一个快速增长的行业。在新冠疫情爆发前,美国运输安全管理局就开始研究生物识别技术,现在航空业又重生了。生物识别技术的优势之一是减少个人接触。我可能不需要碰你的登机牌或手机,就能够通过某种生物识别扫描来验证你的身份。我们也有机会利用生物识别技术加强机场工作人员的安全准入。”

潜在的商机很大,远远不只是在机场。至少在Clear的投资者在游说中如此认为。在Clear首次公开募股当天,塞德曼-贝克尔在接受美国消费者新闻与商业频道(CNBC)的《Squawk Box》节目采访时表示:“我们认为,Clear不仅在全球旅游领域存在巨大的机遇,而且还可以将Clear平台运用到许多不同的垂直领域。我希望,在几年内,航空是我们最小的垂直项目,因为其他的垂直项目要大得多。”

自首次公开募股(IPO)以来,Clear与美国网上订餐平台OpenTable合作,宣布了一项针对餐厅的新服务,提前告知客人在预订晚餐前接种了新冠疫苗。它还为参加纽约时装周(New York Fashion Week)的人,甚至是曼哈顿下城“9·11”纪念馆和博物馆(9/11 Memorial and Museum)的游客提供了疫苗接种证书。其他科技公司Aware、Daon和Yoti等也在研究生物识别技术的新应用。

因此,最显著的技术革新可能不是指在“9·11”之后机场安全措施的调整,而这些措施将自然而然地成为了我们在新冠疫情之后如何恢复“正常”生活的范例。(财富中文网)

编译:於欣

When Clear Secure went public in June, the offering could have been viewed as a moment of rebirth for a travel industry battered by COVID-19. The New York City–based company provides biometric security clearance at more than 50 airports as well as other screening services at sports arenas, office complexes, and even the New York Stock Exchange where shares of the business are now traded. Following its IPO, Clear is valued at $6.8 billion with $215.3 million in annual revenue. Not bad for a business highly exposed to the struggling commercial airline industry.

The fact that Clear Secure exists at all is a testament to how air travel has proved resilient—and innovative—in the two decades since 9/11. This is especially noteworthy given that Clear’s most serious competitor is the federal Transportation Security Administration, itself a byproduct of 9/11 policymaking. Long the focus of frequent fliers’ scorn, the TSA has proved to be something of a rarity: a vast, $7.78 billion government bureaucracy that has gotten more efficient over time, while also creating a favorable funding environment for private sector innovation.

“Prior to 9/11, the U.S. didn’t have money invested in aviation security,” said Jeffrey C. Price, an aviation security expert, professor at the Metropolitan State University of Denver, and coauthor of the book Practical Aviation Security. “But after 9/11, because of all the government money that funneled through the TSA and its centers of innovation, you saw people pitching different types of technology that changed aviation security—and we now see that innovation being used in all different kinds of industries.”

The notion of securing air travel dates back to the 1950s and early 1960s, when hijackings of commercial aircraft first became a threat, though in those days it was really more of a nuisance than anything else. The typical hijacker back then was “a guy who wanted a bag of money and a quick trip to Cuba or Mexico, anyplace where he wouldn’t face extradition,” Price said.

In response, the government launched the Federal Air Marshal program, but it wasn’t particularly aggressive about strengthening airport security. A hijacking was still a reasonably easy thing to get away with. Then in 1968, the pace of hijackings suddenly intensified, with an incident occurring nearly once every week in the U.S. The most headline-grabbing episodes involved aircraft and passengers kidnapped for multiple days and sometimes flown off to far-flung places like Argentina or Algeria. Though the government enhanced criminal penalties, it was still slow to intervene, and the crisis dragged on through the early 1970s.

The problem worsened yet again as terrorists began to realize that airplanes and airports represented a soft target. As the threat metastasized with national security implications, increased air passenger screening—including metal detectors and scanning of carry-on baggage—became standard in the U.S., with the airlines footing the bill.

For a time, the new procedures worked well enough, though there were holes in the system, especially internationally. These were exploited by a series of hijackings and attacks on airports in Rome and Vienna in 1985, and the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. A heightened emphasis on airline and airport security emerged anew, and for the next decade, incidents involving U.S. aircraft were rare. Then came 9/11.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attack, the industry came to realize that aviation security had been an afterthought for far too long, with tragic consequences. “The airlines look at things from a cost-benefit analysis perspective, and you can understand how, throughout the 1990s, they may have asked themselves: ‘Why should we pay more for security for something that hasn’t happened in years?’” Price said.

It was immediately evident that the airline workers staffing checkpoints tended to be poorly paid, meaning there was high turnover, as much as 100% a year in some facilities, according to Price. Vetting of these transient workers, in terms of criminal background checks and the like, was spotty. The tools were also outdated: The X-ray machines employed at security checkpoints were rudimentary, and configured in such a way that they were better at detecting whether a bag was oversize rather than if any problem items were packed inside. Meanwhile, checked luggage on passenger flights wasn’t screened at all. Neither was commercial air cargo.

The TSA was legislated into existence in November 2001 and, for the first few years, it took a heavy hand in correcting for these deficiencies. Flying became something burdensome. Long screening lines snaked through the public spaces in airports. Though they failed to cause harm, the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber prompted new levels of scrutiny of passengers. Behind the scenes, new TSA personnel and equipment filled terminals. Airport managers suddenly faced a major loss in leasable (and therefore potentially revenue-generating) square footage, throwing out of whack the economics of operating an airport.

But if the flying public and airport staff found the TSA to be overbearing, technology suppliers found a willing customer. To create better imaging systems, for example, the TSA spent more than $2 billion with companies such as Smiths Detection, L3, and Rapiscan Systems. The result: Those once controversial, now standard full-body scanners were near universally deployed by 2016. In the meantime, the TSA became increasingly interested in biometric technology, which uses fingerprints, retina scans, and facial recognition technology to validate the identity of travelers who have been prescreened for security.

Clear was originally launched in 2003 by Steven Brill, the American Lawyer founder and entrepreneurial journalist who wrote a book titled After: The Rebuilding and Defending of America in the September 12 Era. Eyeing growth, the company, then known as Verified Identity Pass Inc., announced that it had raised more than $44 million in August 2008 from a group that included Lehman Brothers and Brill himself. But then the financial crisis intensified (Lehman filed for bankruptcy less than a month later), and the company faltered, ultimately ceasing operations in 2009.

Hedge fund managers Caryn Seidman-Becker and Ken Cornick acquired Clear’s name and assets out of bankruptcy the following year, and relaunched the company. In the decade since, the business has moved beyond offering a souped-up background check (TSA PreCheck does the trick now) to creating what Seidman-Becker, now the company’s CEO, has described as “a secure identity platform” that uses biometric information to hurry its 7 million members through expedited lines at security checkpoints.

“Anyone in biometrics is in an expansive growth industry,” Price said. “The TSA was headed toward biometrics before the pandemic hit, and now that air travel is coming back, one of the advantages of biometrics is less personal contact. I may not need to touch your boarding pass or your phone if I can verify your identity through some kind of biometric scan. And there are opportunities to use biometrics to tighten security access among airport workers as well.”

The potential business opportunity extends far beyond airports, at least as far as Clear’s investor pitch is concerned. “We think there are enormous opportunities not only in travel on a global basis but to bring the Clear platform to so many different verticals,” Seidman-Beckertold CNBC’s Squawk Box on the day of Clear’s IPO. “And my hope is that, in a few years, aviation is our smallest vertical because the others are so much bigger.”

Since its IPO, Clear has announced a new service to restaurants, in partnership with OpenTable, to preclear that guests are vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to their dinner reservations. It has also provided vaccination credentialing for attendees at New York Fashion Week, and even for visitors to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in lower Manhattan. Competitors like Aware, Daon and Yoti are working on new applications for biometric technology, too.

The most remarkable technological change, then, may not be how airport security adapted in the aftermath of 9/11, but rather how those same security measures will now inevitably serve as a template for how we get back to our “normal” lives in the aftermath of COVID-19.

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