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AAAE Security SmartBrief March 19, 2012

April 11, 2012

30,000-Foot View

Bill would require “passenger advocates” at 24 airports 
Two senators plan to introduce legislation that would create “passenger advocates” to assist travelers who believe they were not treated properly by Transportation Security Officers. The legislation is sponsored by Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Susan Collins, R-Maine. The legislation would require the TSA to have an advocate on duty at 24 major U.S. airports. The Hill/Floor Action Blog (3/17)

Security Update

TSA introduces modified screening for older travelers 
The Transportation Security Administration today will start using modified procedures to screen elderly travelers at airports in Portland, Denver, Chicago and Orlando. Travelers older than 75 will no longer have to remove their shoes or jackets. However, the TSA noted that screening for older travelers with medical devices will not change. “These passengers will be afforded an additional pass through advanced imaging technology to resolve anomalies. These changes in protocol could ultimately reduce — though not eliminate — pat-downs of travelers 75 and older that would have otherwise been conducted to resolve anomalies,” the TSA said in statement. Homeland Security Today (3/19)

Group files Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against TSA 
A lawsuit filed in federal court claims the Transportation Security Administration violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to provide documents on full-body scans and pat-downs. Liberty Guard, a group led by former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., filed the lawsuit. The group was encouraging travelers to opt out of the scans in November 2010, when it asked for the documents. The Hill (3/16)

Trends & Technology

United fights proposed Southwest international flights from Houston 
Southwest Airlines and United Airlines are engaged in a fierce lobbying war over Southwest’s proposal to construct an international terminal at William P. Hobby Airport in Houston. United is opposing Southwest’s planned $75 million to $100 million project because of its $700 million investment in a new terminal at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, this feature says. Both carriers have warned city officials about abandoning their respective projects in the event of an unfavorable decision. Houston Chronicle (3/18)

Safety Matters Spotlight

British airlines raise concerns ahead of Olympic Games 
Four airlines have raised serious concerns about the ability of London airports to handle the spike in traffic during the summer Olympic Games. A letter from the airlines to the British government highlighted six areas of concern, including the effect of a possible security incident. A spokeswoman for the government said special measures, such as increasing air space capacity and temporary restrictions on air traffic, will be in place to prevent disruptions. “We are confident that the majority of these additional issues have now been addressed, and we look forward to discussing them with the airlines concerned at a meeting next week,” she said. Reuters (3/19)

Policy & Regulatory

FAA will look at updating policy on electronic devices 
The Federal Aviation Administration says it is considering a new round of testing on the effects of personal gadgets such as e-book readers and iPads on airplanes to determine if they are safe for use onboard. “With the advent of new and evolving electronic technology, and because the airlines have not conducted the testing necessary to approve the use of new devices, the FAA is taking a fresh look at the use of personal electronic devices, other than cellphones, on aircraft,” said Laura J. Brown, the FAA’s deputy assistant administrator for public affairs. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/Bits blog (3/18)

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