New Airport Security Measures - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/27/03

New Airport Security Measures

It's been a year of changes for the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. One year ago, 90 federal employees took over passenger and baggage screening at the airport. It's part of the Transportation Security Administration's plan to make airport screeners around the country federal employees.

"I think it makes the American public feel safer when they get on a plane," said TSA federal transportation security Director Debora Brooke.

Tighter security can mean longer lines, something most passengers don't seem to mind. "I came prepared in case they had to inspect or anything," said traveler Melvin Dougherty from Hinesville. "That does give you a sense of ease while you're traveling."

And Eddi Rathert Fripp Island, South Carolina said, "It's a hassle, but if you plan ahead and get here on time, it's fine. It should make everybody feel better, I would think."

Airport officials say don't expect security measures to go down anytime soon. In fact, the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport has just gotten a $500,000 grant to add even more security. Airport executive director Patrick Graham told us, "We're putting in more and better cameras, more infrared-type cameras so we can watch our perimeter, so we can check things. We're changing our security system to fingerprint requirements, instead of waving a badge and a PIN number."

Most people will never see many of these changes, but airport officials are confident passengers will see the results. More security measures aren't the only changes we've seen at the airport. Since 9/11, only ticketed passengers have been allowed at the gate, but now, those waiting to meet their loved ones can get up-to-date flight information direct from the FAA on giant message boards inside the terminal.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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