Thursday, March 11, 2004

Workers must pass airport security

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HEBRON - Beginning Monday about 5,400 workers for companies at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport will be required to go through passenger screening procedures, including metal detectors and X-ray machines.

Since last October, workers who had been cleared in background checks were allowed to go through a separate turnstile at Terminal 3, which primarily serves Delta Air Lines and Comair. They used a security card and pass code but did not go though the additional screening passengers encounter. Most of the employees work for retail shops and restaurants at Terminal 3.

Under federal regulations, expedited security procedures are allowed to permit cleared employees to get to their jobs without having to stand in passenger lines. But airport and federal officials say they have encountered an undisclosed number of attempts to violate the procedure. Most involved employees trying to admit non-authorized personnel or coworkers who may have forgotten their card.

Officials said that because of technological safeguards, neither unauthorized persons nor banned items were able to pass through.

"We decided that the best way to address it was to change things before it became a problem," said Terry Burgess, the airport's federal security director for the Transportation Security Administration, the agency in charge of aviation security following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Airline employees, federal employees and those working for the airport authority will still be allowed access through the turnstiles.


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