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AAAE Security SmartBrief April 16, 2012

April 16, 2012

30,000-Foot View

TSA is testing automated system to check fliers’ boarding passes, ID 
The Transportation Security Administration has begun testing a system at Washington Dulles International Airport that uses machines to check travelers’ identification and boarding passes. It will start tests at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Texas and in Puerto Rico this month. “For efficiency, it is fantastic,” said Domenic Bianchini of the TSA. “We think it’s a valuable technology, and we think over time we will see the real value added.” USA TODAY (4/15)

Security Update

Opinion: TSA takes the wrong approach to risk 
Former Transportation Security Administrator Kip Hawley helped administer airport security measures for more than three years. Now, in an essay in The Wall Street Journal, he writes that the U.S. is taking the wrong approach to risk. “In attempting to eliminate all risk from flying, we have made air travel an unending nightmare for U.S. passengers and visitors from overseas, while at the same time creating a security system that is brittle where it needs to be supple,” Hawley writes. He writes that the TSA should focus on preventing a catastrophic attack and focus on managing risks, not enforcing regulations. The Wall Street Journal (4/15)

Grand jury indicts TSA agent who allegedly stole iPads 
A Transportation Security Administration baggage inspector allegedly stole iPads from travelers passing through Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Authorities said the thefts occurred over an eight-month period. A grand jury indicted Clayton Keith Dovel last week. He could face up to a decade in prison if convicted. “The unacceptable behavior of this individual in no way reflects the dedication of our nearly 50,000 Transportation Security officers who work tirelessly to keep our skies safe,” the TSA said in a statement. Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas) (4/13)

Trends & Technology

February is banner month for U.S. airlines’ on-time performance 
U.S. airlines reached their destinations on time at a record rate of 86.2% in February, compared with 74.5% in February of last year. The data from the Department of Transportation also show that 99.7% airline passengers received their bags on time. “A combination of systematic airline operational improvements and mild winter weather delivered strong results in all DOT consumer metrics,” said Nicholas Calio, president and CEO of Airlines for America. USA TODAY (4/12) The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires (4/12) Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.)/The Associated Press (4/12) Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (4/12)

Delta, Southwest launch ad campaigns for Atlanta market 
Delta Air Lines is fighting back for the fliers of Atlanta after Southwest Airlines recently began service at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Delta is touting its first-class cabin in ads, calling itself “Atlanta’s Hometown Airline.” Southwest ads emphasize its policy of no baggage fees. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (4/12)

Safety Matters Spotlight

Suspicious package shuts down New York airport for two hours 
Authorities shut down New York’s Westchester County Airport for two hours on Sunday after a suspicious package was reported. Authorities would not comment on the contents of the package. CBS News (4/15)

Policy & Regulatory

Opinion: Deregulation shook up airlines’ status quo 
The tribulations facing legacy airlines stem partly from deregulation in 1978, which resulted in the proliferation of budget carriers into the global market, George F. Will writes. The aggressive pricing strategies these carriers touted led to a gradual dip in airfares over the years, increased availability of air travel to the mass market and, eventually, bankruptcy for airlines that were unable to adapt to the competition. The Washington Post (4/13)

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