Awaiting Clear Guidance
At NAC, turning a security miracle is the topic, but direction is unclear
By John F. Infanger
Security and the Olympics - a Potential Model
Salt Lake City International Airport director Tim Campbell had already had a target of February 1st for the 100 percent screening of baggage in preparation for the 2002 Winter Olympics. The target is now January 19, as with all Part 107 airports. Driven by the Secret Service, the goal led SLC to be a step ahead of the crisis situation today.
The Olympics open
on February 8, and Campbell, speaking at the AAAE National Airports
Conference, expects to have nine more CTX machines up and running
by then. Delta and United already had CTX machines, which the carriers
funded. He relates that the heavy, bulky machines will now dominate
his lobby’s landscape, a common challenge facing operators
of older designed terminals.
However, they will not be the primary cog in the scanning loop because the eleven CTX machines alone would not be enough. Explosives trace devices (ETDs), says Campbell, will be relied upon for pre-CTX screening. Much less expensive ($45,000 apiece), they will be placed at the end of passenger ticket lines, 68 units in all. A "hit" on a bag sends it to the CTX. ETDs will be placed at curbside check-in, says Campbell. "We’ve been told that the ETDs can operate to about 20 degrees F," he says, making temperature a question.
If the SLC system proves effective, says Campbell, it could serve as a starting point for other airports to screen and facilitate passengers and baggage.
Campbell does caution that one of the issues related to the use of ETDs is whether or not FAA will require "swathing" inside a bag, not just outside. If so, he says, the system devised at SLC for the Olympics may not be applicable.
SLC’s greatest challenge will come the day after the closing ceremonies, says Campbell, when near-100 percent airline occupancy is expected. SLC accommodates some 38,000 daily departure seats.
Regarding the challenge facing the U.S. system of airports, Campbell is concerned "we may be underestimating" the economic impact of security costs and requirements on the aviation system as a whole and its subsequent economic recovery."
TUCSON — In December, a full slate of delegates was on hand for the delayed F. Russell Hoyt National Airports Conference, looking for direction and clarification — and funding. Much of that, however, was left pending with the new Under Secretary of Transportation for Security not in place, wary regulators, and a financially hesitant Congress. Yet, a 60-day deadline loomed; and, managers shared what they’d learned since 9/11.
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