Airport Execs Meet in Philly

The business of airlines, an onerous ARFF proposal, service opportunities top agenda

Participation in the program is voluntary, relates Kelly. The only regulated parties today are the airlines and the freight forwarders.

Who can become a certified screening facility? Virtually anyone, says Kelly. Examples include shipping facilities, warehouses, distribution centers, freight forwarding facilities, and independent third party screening facilities. There are four components of the certified screening program, explains Kelly:

  • Facility security, which must be done in a secure designated screening area and must have limited access control.
  • Personnel security — anyone who touches the freight has to go through a security threat assessment and background check.
  • Employee training.
  • Access control and constant physical monitoring of the facility.

Kelly says certified screeners must follow chain of custody requirements. “We want to make sure freight is secure from the time it is inspected and sealed to the time it gets to the airport. In this program, this is probably the link that needs the most attention because there are many hands handling the freight throughout its journey, and we have to make sure that the freight remains secure at all times as it goes through the supply chain,” says Kelly.

Yvette Rose, senior vice president for the Cargo Airline Association, says the Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP) is important because shippers, freight forwarders, and indirect air carriers can all apply to become a CCSP.

According to Rose, there is also talk in the airport community about becoming an independent cargo screening facility (ICSF).

“What the Cargo Airline Association has been doing is supporting TSA and industry partners in ensuring incentives for participation in the CCSP,” says Rose. “The airlines are not going to be able to do the screening alone; that is how bottlenecks happen at the airport. We need to push this back in the supply chain as far as possible.

“The shippers make the most sense assuming that they can retain the chain of custody through the process flow. They may be looking for a way to receive funding for this; the technology and resources to screen cargo can be expensive, and it is possible to look to airports to partner with regarding becoming an independent cargo screening facility. There are opportunities for partnerships or joint ventures in this area.”

TSA Technology update
Aaron Batt, acting deputy assistant administrator of operational process and technology for TSA, says the agency currently has a bid open for advance technology (AT) x-ray units, and the goal is to deploy AT’s to all airports by the end of calendar year 2010. The ATs are capable of giving security multiple projection x-rays for checkpoint screening.

Batt says risk is the primary driving factor when determining where the ATs will be distributed. “Our intelligence office reports to us what airports are at the most risk,” says Batt. “Other factors include space constraints, and same type equipment considerations at airports.”

According to Batt, there are some 400 bottled liquid scanners in the field, and there are plans to award a contract in September for the procurement of more advanced bottled liquid scanners. If that procurement goes as scheduled, says Batt, TSA would deploy about 650 units within the first two quarters of fiscal year 2010.

Next generation explosive trace devices (ETD) are also currently in use in the field today for both checked baggage and security checkpoints. “With the Recovery Act, we have plans to buy 500 more units this fiscal year,” says Batt.

“Our long-term goal is a systems approach; one piece of equipment that can do everything. Today, we have deployed a lot of equipment that do many different things.”

Batt relates that TSA’s goal with shoe scanners is to put out an RFP during the next calendar year, and to test and evaluate technologies in order to decide on a procurement plan.
Another category of equipment that TSA is going to be piloting at the end of this calendar year is exit lane breech control systems, says Batt.

Regarding whole body imaging systems, TSA currently has 40 units deployed in airport environments.

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