By Jodi Prill, Associate Editor
About This Report
BUSINESS recently conducted in-depth interviews with representatives
of some 15 U.S. airports regarding security. The concensus: There
is a good chance the federal deadlines for baggage screening and
security checkpoints will be met, despite the associated challenges.
Airport officials across the country have similar concerns: Where and how will the baggage screening equipment fit in each facility? What’s going to happen to the security force currently under contract?
officials report progress, express concerns for meeting federal deadlines
Lockheed Martin and Boeing, consultants for TSA, are scheduled to make trips to more than 400 airports in order to assess the needs of each airport in meeting the November 19 deadline for security checkpoints, and the December 31 deadline for 100 percent baggage screening. AIRPORT BUSINESS conducted interviews with 15 airports across the country to find out where each is in this process and to hear the concerns airport officials.
Olson, director of Cheyenne (WY) and current American Associa-tion of
Airport Executives chair, says Lockheed has visited his airport to discuss
security checkpoint needs. He says a plan was submitted to the TSA, which
would involve extending the current screening area by 30x15 feet.
Upon its review, TSA returned to Cheyenne a revised plan. Explains Olson, "Because of the deadline and budgetary concerns, they’ve come back to us and provided a modified plan basically cramming the equipment into the existing space, which creates three or four modifications to standards. So we have said, ’No, that’s not acceptable.’ We’re not going to open up a screening area that doesn’t meet the standards that the TSA itself has laid out, because of timing or budget reasons. I don’t want to come back years later when it’s full of people and again disrupt things."
Westchester County (NY) Airport recently met with Boeing’s representatives to review a possible solution to meeting the 100 percent baggage screening requirement.
"We’re assuming the Westchester size airports will use ETD and we discussed what we felt would be appropriate for our arrangement and they (the consultants) took that under advisement," says Joel Russell, airport manager. "If they use ETD in the area of the terminal that we are suggesting, the affect on the terminal as far as structure will be modest. However, it will have an impact on space available for passenger handling."
The terminal building at Westchester is only 4,200 sq. ft., which poses a problem for the airport. Russell explains, "We anticipate whatever space TSA asks for we don’t have in the terminal right now without dislodging a current tenant. We don’t exactly know where as an airport we’re going to accommodate them."
At Charlottesville-Albemarle (VA) Airport, TSA workers took over duties on August 13. At the time of this interview, Bryan Elliott, executive director, expected 27 to 32 TSA employees to assume responsibilities of screening baggage and handling checkpoint security.
LEOs and Airport Security
TSA has plans to dispatch federal law enforcement officials (LEOs) to airports around the nation. At Shreveport (LA) Airport, Harold Carpenter, chief of airport police, is worried about his job and the jobs of his employees, while Thomas Trudeau, director of Rutland (VT) State Airport has similar concerns for the officers he has contracted to serve his airport.