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AAAE Security SmartBrief February 14, 2012

April 11, 2012

30,000-Foot View

Proposal would reduce TSA budget by 2.5% 
The White House on Monday proposed a budget that would reduce funding for the Transportation Security Administration by 2.5%. Under the $7.6 billion TSA budget, the agency would spend less on explosive-detection devices, air marshals and checkpoint security. However, the budget increases funding for luggage screeners. It also includes funding for 145 officers who will scrutinize passenger behavior, and 20 canine teams. USA TODAY/Today In The Sky blog (2/13)

Security Update

Traveler with loaded gun arrested at Detroit airport 
Authorities arrested a man who allegedly tried to travel with a loaded gun at the Detroit Metro Airport. Security screeners detected the firearm in the traveler’s carry-on bag. Transportation Security Administration spokesman Nico Melendez said firearms can be carried in checked bags only and that they must be unloaded, declared and in a secure carrying case. The Detroit News (2/14)

Bomb threat prompts evacuation at Amsterdam airport 
A bomb threat at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport forced police to evacuate two terminals on Monday. Dozens of flights were delayed after a man who claimed to have a bomb locked himself in a restroom. A military spokesman said the man, who was arrested, did not present an additional security threat. USA TODAY/The Associated Press (2/13)

Despite warning, Mexico travel sales will boom in 2012, agents say 
Travel agents are maintaining an optimistic outlook for travel into Mexico in 2012 despite a new travel advisory from the State Department. In fact, agents approve of the advisory’s detailed listing of Mexican states affected by the ongoing drug war, thus easing safety concerns over popular tourist spots, which are largely unaffected. “It’s great that they’ve stipulated in writing that the major areas are safe. It’s a lot better than making a blanket statement about the whole country,” said Becky Jones, owner of Becky Jones Travel in San Antonio. (2/13)

Trends & Technology

JetBlue will add flights to LaGuardia, Reagan airports from Tampa, Fla. 
JetBlue Airways will introduce service from Tampa International Airport to New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. JetBlue was able to add the flights after acquiring landing slots at the airports through a Federal Aviation Administration auction. The Tampa Tribune (Fla.) (2/14)

Apps make sure you’re not a stranger in a strange land 
Web sites and smartphone applications are making it easier for business travelers to find what they need in a strange city. Poynt and AroundMe apps can direct the out-of-town traveler to banks, gas stations, hospitals, restaurants, hotels and more. When business takes you to a foreign land, try the World Customs and Cultures app. “Sections cover greetings, personal space, laws, gender issues and local gestures and taboos,” Julie Weed writes. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (2/13)

Policy & Regulatory

Deregulation has “democratized” the skies 
When it comes to flying first class, the thrill is gone, some experts say. Deregulation has “hugely democratized” the skies, said Gary Leff, a founder of, a frequent-flier community. Since deregulation in the late 1970s, low-cost carriers were introduced. Later, the industry was dealt blows with 9/11, rising fuel costs and the recession, resulting in an extended era of cost cutting. The development of loyalty programs also allowed members to pay for upgrades with miles, further eroding the cache of first class. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (2/10)

Obama’s 2013 budget plan includes higher air passenger fees 
The 2013 budget plan proposed by the Obama administration calls for a rise in passenger security fees at airlines, with a goal of collecting as much as $25.5 billion in additional passenger fees over the next 10 years. Airlines have expressed disapproval at the proposed fee increase, citing possible job cuts. The budget request also proposes a bill that would boost transportation spending to $476 billion over six years as well as a $1 billion budget for hardware upgrades at the Federal Aviation Administration. The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires (2/13) USA TODAY/Today In The Sky blog (2/13) The Hill/Transportation blog (2/13)

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