Security changes at airport delayed - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Security changes at airport delayed

September 9, 2002

Albany-- Key security changes at Albany's airport will not happen as planned. Monday, federal employees were suppose to take over security checkpoints at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport and other smaller airports across the country. But the Transportation Security Administration needs more time.

At the big airports across the country, travelers must undergo extensive security checks performed by federal employees. These federal workers were scheduled to take over security Monday at the smaller airports, including here at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport.

But these changes have been deferred. Just two weeks ago, subcontractors to the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, visited the Albany Airport, evaluating the airport's security. Everything seemed to be on schedule, until Airport Director Richard Howell got word a couple days later that TSA needed more time.

Howell says that many smaller airports joined together, composing a letter to Congress saying TSA needed more flexibility to meet the deadlines. "In many ways some of those deadlines are very unrealistic, bring the workforce up to speed, get them trained, so it doesn't surprise me, its a pretty big job."

So for now, TSA has been given more time to get the job done. But, just when the new regulations will be put in place is still unknown, although it's expected soon. Besides taking over the passenger checkpoints, the federal workers will be in charge of handling all the explosive detection equipment at the airport.

That equipment is expected to be in and operational at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport by December.

Posted at 3:55 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com

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