Orlando Airport to Screen Employees

The city's airport will begin screening all employees who enter secure areas, action that follows the arrest of baggage handlers accused of smuggling guns onto a commercial flight, officials said Wednesday.

Orlando International Airport joins the company of Miami, the only other U.S. airport to physically screen all employees who can enter secure areas. Miami began the practice in 1999 after its own smuggling incident.

Airport officials unanimously approved $7 million in security plans Wednesday.

The airport and the Transportation Security Administration boosted security in the days following a breach that involved two airline baggage handlers suspected of using their employee uniforms and airport identification cards to enter restricted areas and avoid security screeners. Handguns and an assault rifle were found in a carry-on bag seized by authorities.

TSA officers will continue screening employees with secure access for 90 days, after which the Orlando airport will use a security company.

The multimillion-dollar security enhancement, to be reviewed and renewed annually, also includes vehicle screening, security equipment, and equipment installation and implementation, airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell said.

Sherri Johnson, of Raleigh N.C., was flying home from Orlando on Wednesday.

"I think all the employees should be screened just like the passengers," Johnson said. "I'm surprised that screening wasn't already taking place."

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