Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

FAA Inspectors to Test Airport Security Programs Next Year

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

FAA Inspectors to Test Airport Security Programs Next Year

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Aviation Administration, using special teams of inspectors, plans to put security programs at 16 major airports to the test next year, officials said Wednesday.

Transportation Secretary Jim Burnley said the FAA teams will ``focus on high volume airports. . .to determine if security initiatives have been implemented and to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the civil aviation security program.''

The FAA has come under criticism in Congress in recent months for allowing lax security at major airports.

Burnley said that the FAA teams also will take a close look at security programs at the airlines which serve the 16 airports that are being targeted. None of the airports was named, but officials said they include virtually all of the largest.

A recent report by congressional investigators said security at major airports is so poor that one of five fake weapons and explosives went undetected at security checkpoints and that at some airports investigators were able to wander virtually at will in restricted areas without being challenged.

Airport security problems also became a focus of attention after a shooting aboard a Pacific Southwest Airlines jet on Dec. 7, causing the plane to crash, killing all 43 people aboard. Investigators believe a fired USAir employee, seeking revenge on his former boss also aboard the plane, smuggled a gun onto the jet after bypassing normal security screening at the Los Angeles International Airport.

As of this week, all airline employees, even those in uniform, have had to pass through passenger screening checkpoints in a check for possible weapons.

Burnley said in a statement that the special focus on airport security, including unannounced tests of security programs, would begin next month and continue throughout 1988. …

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