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AAAE Security SmartBrief April 18, 2012

April 18, 2012

30,000-Foot View

Traveler with loaded handgun arrested at California checkpoint
A traveler who allegedly attempted to pass through airport security with a loaded gun in his carry-on bag was arrested at California’s John Wayne Airport on Monday. Minhchau Pham, 43, had attempted to pass through security with a weapon on a previous occasion, authorities said. This is the third incident involving a handgun at a security checkpoint in Southern California this week, according to the Transportation Security Administration. “It’s a very routine procedure that our agents find handguns,” TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said. The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) (4/17)

Security Update

Poll: Do you think elderly travelers should be subject to relaxed screening?
  Yes. I think they present less of a threat.
  No. Everyone should receive the same level of screening.
  I don’t know.

Trends & Technology

Higher gas prices could pose a threat to summer travel
The travel and tourism industry continues to suffer the effects of higher fuel costs across the country, which some people fear may severely affect consumers’ travel decisions this summer, this feature says. Several airlines have already imposed steeper fuel surcharges and domestic ticket prices, further lessening the appeal of travel and raising concerns among travel sellers. Tour operators and cruise lines say they are resisting the idea of fuel surcharges, although it remains to be seen how long they can hold out as the year goes on. Travel Weekly (4/17)

Report: Spending in U.S. by foreign tourists rose 14% in February
The Commerce Department’s February report on travel and tourism indicates that international visitors spent about $13.3 billion over the course of their trips, rising 14% from figures in February last year. The report also showed record increases in the purchase of tourism-related goods, to $10.1 billion, and international travel fares, to $3.1 billion, during the month. TravelPulse (4/17)

Airport Ops Spotlight

Orlando airport board will vote on upgrades
Airport board members this week are expected to vote on a $472 million plan for upgrades to Orlando International Airport in Florida. The plan includes overhauling the baggage handling system and replacing ticket desks with electronic kiosks. “Obviously, we’re trying to pay attention to what the state of the art is right now in the industry,” said OIA Director Phil Brown. Orlando Sentinel (Fla.) (4/18)

New vendors seeking space at Miami airport’s old Central Terminal
There’s a growing demand for retail space at Miami International Airport’s Central Terminal. The existing vendors don’t want to give up their stores or restaurants, however. The “out with the old, in with the new sentiment” isn’t flying with all concerned parties. “The Central Terminal has some of the finest concessions you will find,” said airport executive Miguel Southwell. The Miami Herald (free registration) (4/15)

US Airways’ future doesn’t deter N.C. airport from projects
Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina is proceeding with building a $160 million parking deck. However, analysts are wondering what the future holds for Charlotte, which is a hub for US Airways. “Charlotte’s future is so heavily tied to US Airways’ status as an independent airline, and right now there is a lot of uncertainty,” said aviation analyst Henry Harteveldt. “There really is a risk.” Winston-Salem Journal (N.C.)/McClatchy-Tribune News Service (4/15)

Los Angeles airport will add warning lights on runways for safety
Los Angeles International Airport plans to add more warning lights to runways, officials said. “This project means safer runways and peace of mind for our passengers and is an integral component of the modernization of LAX,” said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX. Los Angeles Times/L.A. Now blog (tiered subscription model) (4/16)

The Buzz (CORPORATE ANNOUNCEMENTS)

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Policy & Regulatory

Houston City Council questions outcome of airport study
The Houston City Council criticized a report on the benefits of adding international service from William P. Hobby Airport. City Council members said the report was “biased” in favor of Southwest Airlines, which has proposed service to Mexico and the Caribbean from Hobby. Houston Chronicle (4/16)

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