How secure is Albany's airport? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

How secure is Albany's airport?

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Chief Bernard Ford, Airport Public Safety Chief Bernard Ford, Airport Public Safety
Yvette Aehle, Airport Director Yvette Aehle, Airport Director
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

A California teen who flew to Hawaii inside the wheel well of a jumbo jet has airports across the nation reviewing security.   The 16-year-old boy climbed through the fence of the San Jose airport before sneaking onto the plane.

But could that happen in Albany?  

Airport Director Yvette Aehle says the airport's small size will play a key role in preventing similar incidents from occurring here.           

Round the clock security watches the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport.  "We're constantly impressing upon our folks that you can't ever just let it die down or not pay attention to those visual cues that something doesn't look quite right," said Yvette Aehle, Airport Director. 

  Officers and K-9 units check barbed wire perimeters as well.    "Make sure there's no breakage in the fence or anything like that. And once we find somebody, we'll try to apprehend them," said  Chief Bernard Ford, Airport Public Safety.   

But security at the San Jose airport didn't stop a 16 year-old from climbing inside the wheel well of Hawaii Airlines Flight 45 to Maui.   "He was lucky to be alive.,"  Ford said.

The plane reached 38,000 feet, with below freezing temperatures.   "Airlines are probably telling the pilots when they pre-flight the airplane before they use it the first time that day, that they go up there and look up in that wheel well and see what's going on up there,"  Aehle said.  

She says the airport's personal atmosphere will likely deter stowaways.  "Our planes are a lot smaller than the 767 that he flew over in. The wheel well obviously in that is gonna be a lot larger than the regional jets that we have here," said Aehle.  

Security will remain tight.  "We tend to notice people that we don't know just kind of walking around on the aircraft ramp.  That's not something that we see normally, and we're immediately going to challenge them," said Ford.  

Officers say they'll continue to patrol the ground to keep the skies safe.    

Aehle says many airports will likely invest in motion detectors and other security along fences. She says airlines and pilots will probably keep a much closer eye on the planes.

 

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