The close call in Mombasa, Kenya, in which two suspected al Qaeda operatives fired Russian-made Strela-2 surface-to-air missiles at a packed 757, was the first such attack on a commercial jet outside a war zone. But don't expect airlines to install any of the available countermeasures, such as infrared jammers, used in military aircraft. The $1 million to $2 million for each installation is prohibitive, say
airlines, because 5,000 commercial
aircraft operate in the U.S. alone. However, the Air Transport Association, which represents most major airlines, has a suggestion: Taxpayers could foot the bill. "Protecting our citizens against threats of this type is the responsibility of our federal government," ATA spokesman Michael Wasco says.