Airport: Security delays few

AIRPORT DISTRICT — Despite stepped up airline screenings at Bob Hope Airport after an attempted bombing aboard a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight, authorities said delays have been minimal.

While officials at Bob Hope and Los Angeles International airports would not disclose the details of the increased security measures being taken, the public almost certainly would not notice the difference, Bob Hope Airport Police Chief Ed Skvarna said.

“We won’t publicly say what we’re doing, but you can be rest assured that we have our fingers on the pulse of what is going on in the world,” Skvarna said. “The key here is we constantly change deployments, tactics and procedures so that we never become complacent, routine or predictable.”

Los Angeles Airport Police also enhanced their deployments and are maintaining high-visibility patrols and checkpoints as part of planned holiday operations, the agency said in a statement.

The beefed-up security comes after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, attempted to detonate an explosive device while Northwest Airlines Flight 253 approached Detroit from Amsterdam on Christmas Day. The alleged terrorist and member of a well-off Nigerian family was subdued by passengers and charged with attempting to destroy the aircraft and placing a destructive device on the aircraft.

Bob Hope Airport for years has remained on “heightened alert,” keeping safety operations in line with the nation’s status, said Victor Gill, spokesman for the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.

“That implies a very, very high level of security day-in and day-out,” he said. “With things being tightened up, we can anticipate that the screening process will be as thorough or more so than the past.”

The airport, which recently served as a test site for advanced body-scanning technology, is one of only a dozen across the country that uses a remote conveyor to test baggage in a blast-hardened location, Gill said.

Despite the increased presence of airport police officers, the airport continues to rely on a “layered approach” that includes the Transportation Security Administration, police officers, airport authority officials and passengers to round out patrol, Skvarna said.

“All of those working together is what we’re looking to orchestrate to improve security at the airport,” he said.

In the wake of the incident in Detroit Christmas Day, the TSA worked with federal and local law enforcement to ensure safety remains strong at airports, according to the agency.

Passengers flying into the United States from abroad can expect to see additional security measures, such as increased gate screenings, pat-downs and bag searches.

While restrictions on using the bathroom during the last hour were prevalent on international flights, security checks on domestic flights have also varied, and in some cases included bans on electronic devices and moving about the cabin.

The TSA has been intentionally unclear about specific security measures imposed in recent days, in part to ensure it isn’t tipping off potential attackers, airport officials said, advising passengers to give themselves an additional 30 minutes to one hour to pass through security checkpoints.

Delays often can be avoided when passengers take precautions and follow guidelines concerning carry-on items, Gill said.

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