I don’t think that Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Beijing, Seoul, Paris, etc., are likely sites for a MANPAD attack on a commercial jet. The one real credible attempt was on an El-Al flight out of Nairobi, and was unsuccessful. Despite what may be portrayed in spy novels, movies and TV shows, surface-to-air engagements are not simple. Furthermore, a successful engagement against a large commercial jet would probably not destroy the plane anyway. At worst, the aircraft will sustain an uncontained failure of one engine. Look here for photos and story regarding the DHL Airbus that took a missile strike at 8,000 ft over Baghdad on 22 NOV 2003. While some may point to this incident as proof that the threat is real, I suggest that it proves just the opposite: that the threat is exceedingly rare. This is one incident, which occurred over a hot (at the time) combat zone. And, while the plane was damaged extensively, the brilliant, tough and courageous flight crew made a spectacular landing of the crippled jet.
If terrorist organizations, organized or not, we capable of bringing down commercial aircraft with MANPADS, we’d have seen it by now. Fortunately, we haven’t.
So, then, what are some real threats to commercial flights? Well, what countermeasures were ever employed to protect flight crews from high-intensity lasers in the cockpit, which was all the rage a couple of years ago? What about a food-borne biological attack?
Trust me fellas, my mind is simpler than any of yours! Still, I’m not on board with the concept of MANPADs as a credible threat to commercial aircraft.