Another airborne terror attack would cost airlines billions

A new study by four scientists at the University of Southern California's Centre for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events, titled The Economic Impacts of a Terrorist Attack on the US Commercial Aviation System, says a new terrorist attack involving US airlines would cost the industry as much as $420 billion (Rs17 lakh crore) if it grounded planes for a week and took two years to recover.

The study was published in a special homeland security issue of the peer-reviewed journal Risk Analysis. Funded by the Department of Homeland Security, the authors used the after-effects of the 9/11 attacks to model a single attack on a major airport, causing an initial shutdown of the entire US commercial air transport system, followed by a two-year recovery period.

Key findings include that an initial seven-day shutdown would cost $12.5 to $21.3 billion (Rs50,599 crore to Rs86,220 crore) and that overall loss estimates over the two following years - excluding loss of life and replacement costs of aircraft damaged in the attack - would range from $214 billion (Rs8.66 lakh crore) to $420 billion.