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AAAE Security SmartBrief May 8, 2012

May 8, 2012

30,000-Foot View

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U.S. analyzes sophisticated underwear bomb 
The Central Intelligence Agency recently obtained from a foreign government an underwear bomb similar to those used by al-Qaida during terror attacks. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is analyzing the bomb, which officials believe was built in Yemen. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has no information regarding a specific plot or threat. “We have no specific, credible information regarding an active terrorist plot against the U.S. at this time, although we continue to monitor efforts by al-Qaida and its affiliates to carry out terrorist attacks, both in the homeland and abroad,” DHS said in a statement. “Since this IED demonstrates our adversaries? interest in targeting the aviation sector, DHS continues, at the direction of the president, to employ a risk-based, layered approach to ensure the security of the traveling public.” Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (5/7)

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Security Update

Traveler with loaded gun arrested at Baltimore checkpoint 
A traveler who attempted to pass through a security checkpoint at BWI Thurgood Marshall airport in Maryland was arrested on Sunday. Officials said the traveler forgot that a 9 mm Glock handgun, which was loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition, was in his carry-on bag. WJZ-TV (Baltimore) (5/7)

Trends & Technology

Immigration process needs more agents at airports, experts say 
Travelers on international flights often wonder how long they will have to wait in immigration lines once they arrive, writes Carl Bialik in The Wall Street Journal. He says the most common cause of long lines is flights arriving too close together. “It’s simply a matter of a saturated queue, and you solve that with either more servers or shorter processing time,” says Alfred Blumstein, a professor of operations research at Carnegie Mellon University who co-wrote a 2008 article on using technology in airline-passenger prescreening programs. The Wall Street Journal (5/4)

Rising taxes are adding to cost of air travel 
Experts predict summer airfares will increase this year, especially for destinations abroad. “International travel is much higher than it has been in previous summers,” said President George Hobica. “Part of that’s taxes. The airports keep on adding taxes. Governments are adding taxes.” Chicago Sun-Times (5/7)

Policy & Regulatory

Airlines ask FAA to extend deadline on fuel-tank modification 
Airlines for America wrote a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration asking to delay a deadline for modifying fuel tanks. “There is simply not enough time to retrofit airplanes” by the deadlines in 2014, wrote Thomas Hendricks, senior vice president for safety at A4A. Bloomberg Businessweek (5/8) The Wall Street Journal (5/7)

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