Macon, Ga. Airport Security Review Set for Monday

The inspection of Middle Georgia Regional Airport by federal authorities - which could mean more flights at the airport - is set for Monday, Macon aviation director George Brown said Friday.

The Transportation Security Agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will determine whether the airport meets security qualifications, he said.

The airport already has installed a series of updated monitoring systems and advanced security measures, including more fencing, combination and cyber locks, closed-circuit cameras and card readers that limit access to the airport. The upgrades cost about $60,000.

Because of the lack of adequate security, the airport in January was downgraded to Class IV status, meaning airplanes with more than 60 seats were not permitted to fly in and out of the airport.

Brown said he expects TSA officials to approve the new security measures put in place, which will allow the airport to regain its Class III status. If that happens, the airport can increase the number of flights as well as the size of the planes.

Brown said he wasn't sure how long the inspection will take.

Then, once the paperwork is certified in Washington, the airport will be a "certified" Class III operation. As long as the airport gets TSA approval, it can service the larger planes.

The inspection has been delayed in past months because of shipping mix-ups with door locks, but Brown said the wait will prove to be worthwhile.

"The bottom line is the community and the council cooperated, and we've done this together," Brown said. "We'll all be better off, and people can come to the airport and go where they want to go."