In a letter released today, the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) urged the federal government to create a new national security force to staff and operate airports' security checkpoints across the country. The letter sent to Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta's Rapid Response Team on Airport Security also detailed various other measures that will significantly enhance the safety and security of the traveling public as the nation rebuilds from the events of September 11th, 2001.
"It can no longer be business as usual for the aviation industry," said Virginia Buckingham, Executive Director and CEO of Massport. "We must come together as airlines, airports, and federal regulators and work to create a system that ensures passenger safety. This new world requires new, more drastic measures."
The Rapid Response Team is scheduled to make recommendations to Secretary Mineta no later than October 1, 2001. The letter was sent to Chip Barclay, President of the American Association of Airport Executives, who is representing airports on the federal panel created on September 16, 2001.
Last Thursday, a Massport security check conducted at Logan revealed that two individuals were able to pass undetected through security checkpoints with barred items. One carried a buck knife, the other carried several bullets in a pocket.
"We must move quickly and make security checkpoints a federal responsibility and not an airline assignment," said Buckingham. "The ongoing federal investigation will shed further light on specific improvements that we can implement at Logan and we remain steadfast in leaving no stone unturned as we scrutinize our own operations, facilities, and policies. I am grateful to FAA Administrator Jane Garvey and other federal officials for their support and guidance as we meet the challenge of new threats."
To view a copy of the letter please