THE MAGAZINE

Aviation security

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Aviation recently held a hearing on airport screening and checkpoint issues. Several government and industry representatives testified. TSA representative Stephen J. McHale testified that all screeners must meet annual recertification standards and pass numerous tests. To further increase screener skill, a new plan is underway to send inert bomb sets and weapons training kits to every airport in the nation so that screeners can be tested using these items, noted McHale. Representing the Airports Council International-North America, David Z. Plavin testified that the TSA's priorities have led to screening problems. According to Randall Walker, aviation director of Clark County, Nevada, the Las Vegas McCarran airport was operating well under federal guidelines immediately after 9-11. Angela Gittens, aviation director at Miami-Dade International Airport, was critical of government actions. She noted that Congress had issued a December 2002 deadline for installation of an explosive detection system (EDS) at each airport. But, said Gittens, Miami has yet to receive one, "even though we are the nation's third busiest international gateway and have the highest number of foreign visitors of any airport in the nation." Read the testimony.

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