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AAAE Security SmartBrief April 11, 2012

April 11, 2012

30,000-Foot View

Alabama airport gets advanced imaging scanners

Alabama’s Huntsville International Airport is among the latest airports to get scanners with advanced imaging technology that display generic images of travelers. “The benefit it provides is the ability to detect non-metallic items in addition to metallic items that could pose a threat to the safety of an aircraft and its passengers,” said Transportation Security Administration spokesman Jon Allen. Passengers who do not want to pass through the scanners may opt for a pat-down instead. WHNT-TV (Huntsville, Ala.) (4/10)

Security Update

Police arrest traveler who allegedly had a handgun at Calif. airport
Authorities arrested Andrew Sandowski at Palm Springs International Airport in California on Tuesday after a Transportation Security Administration agent allegedly discovered a loaded handgun and 12 rounds of ammunition in his briefcase. TSA spokesman Nico Melendez noted that handguns must be declared to an airline and stored unloaded in a locked container with checked luggage. The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, Calif.) (4/10)

Traveler arrested after allegedly bringing knife, stun gun in carry-on
A female traveler who allegedly brought a knife and stun gun in her carry-on bag to New York’s Westchester County Airport was arrested on Saturday. The items were detected at a security checkpoint. The Wall Street Journal (4/10)

Poll: What is the appropriate penalty for a traveler who attempts to pass through a security checkpoint with a weapon?
  The traveler should be arrested and charged.
  The traveler should be fined.
  I don’t know. It depends on the circumstances.

Trends & Technology

Southwest receives support for Hobby international flights
Southwest Airlines received support from Houston’s aviation director for international service from William P. Hobby Airport. The ultimate decision will be made by Mayor Annise Parker, the Houston City Council and U.S. regulators. Should the proposal pass, negotiations with Southwest will continue over construction of a Customs facility and an international terminal that could cost $75 million to $100 million. “Southwest has pledged to cover the cost through an increase in the passenger facility fee,” from $3 to $4.50, the Houston Chronicle says. Parker plans to schedule “a vote on the agreement for next month,” the newspaper says. Bloomberg Businessweek (4/9) Houston Chronicle (4/9)

United Continental reports slight increase in traffic
United Continental Holdings reported a 1% increase in overall traffic for March on a year-over-year basis. Traffic for the month was boosted by a gain in international travelers. The carrier’s passenger revenue per available seat mile also climbed by 4% to 5% for the month. The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.) (4/10)

Airport Ops Spotlight

Modernization of LAX will cost $4.1B
The cost to modernize Los Angeles International Airport has soared to an estimated $4.1 billion. But airport officials say the project is on track. “With regards to scheduling, all projects find it challenging to stay on schedule. But every day we continue to make progress,” said Roger Johnson, deputy executive director at Los Angeles World Airports, which oversees the airport. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (4/10)

Newark Airport moves ahead with final phase of terminal expansion
The final phase of a $350 million project to upgrade Newark Liberty International Airport’s Terminal B will start next month. The project will expand the terminal’s meet-and-greet area, improve customer-service areas and upgrade mechanical systems. By the end of the year, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will start seeking requests for information from airport operators and builders regarding a public-private partnership to build a new Terminal A. (4/10)

$1B expansion of N.C. airport advances with work on garage
Piling work for a $160 million parking deck is under way and is part of a $1 billion expansion project at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, N.C. Airport authorities saw the need for expansion due to a 22% increase in flights since 2006. Expansion plans consist of building a fifth runway, an eight-lane entrance road and a separate international terminal over the next seven years. The Charlotte Observer (N.C.) (4/8)

Philadelphia airport’s $6.4B expansion cost makes carriers balk
Philadelphia city officials want to expand Philadelphia International Airport by extending two runways, adding a fifth runway and building a new terminal and parking facilities. They say the cost would be about $6.4 billion, although two airlines peg the cost at more than $10 billion. The airlines, which would need to shoulder most of the cost, are balking at the idea. “It’s a very complicated balancing act for an airport,” said David Cush, CEO and president of Virgin America. “You have to build for the future, but you have to keep your eye on the costs in the present, or airlines just leave.” The Philadelphia Inquirer (4/6)

Policy & Regulatory

Experts: Pilots’ medical issues may create liability for airlines
The medical condition of commercial airlines pilots could create liability issues for the airlines they work for, even if the pilots do not disclose those issues to the carriers, experts say. To obtain a medical certificate to operate an airplane, a pilot must get a medical exam from a doctor authorized by the FAA. However, experts say psychological problems may be difficult to discover if the pilot does not identify them. The issue was recently highlighted when a commercial pilot ranted about terrorism and had to be locked out of the cockpit and physically restrained during a commercial flight. NJBIZ (New Jersey) (4/10)

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