This video shows what happens when a bomb goes off inside the luggage hold of a normal passenger jet. Authorities believe it was a blast like this which downed a Russian aircraft over Egypt in October, killing all 224 people on board.
A team of international scientists are working on a device that could mitigate the effect of such an explosion. They've developed the Fly-Bag – a bomb-proof lining made from layers of fabrics and composites that have high strength and impact, and heat resistance.
In field-tests, an explosive device was placed in a suitcase and then zipped up inside the Fly-Bag. When detonated, the bag expands and contracts but does not tear. The structural integrity of the fuselage is maintained. The Fly-Bag could be a fail-safe in the event an explosive device is smuggled aboard an aircraft, according to a leading British security consultant.
Matthew Finn, managing director of Augmentiq, a security consultancy, said: "I think it has the capacity to transform how we look at hold baggage. We've spent a lot of time thinking about the reconciliation of passengers and their bags; since 1988, since the Lockerbie disaster, that's been a big focus of the airline industry. What the Fly-Bag does is look to those situations where there may be a device on board, and how do we contain that. I think it's a really interesting development and I'd like to see it deployed more widely."
The Fly-Bag is being developed by Blastech, a spin-out company from the University of Sheffield, as well as partners from across Europe.