Tag: airport

The USA Today reports that the TSA plans to install 150 security machines at airport checkpoints that enable screeners to see under passengers’ clothes.

The installation will vastly expand the use of the controversial body scanners, which can reveal hidden bombs and knives. But the devices have been labeled as intrusive by some lawmakers. The House of Representatives in June overwhelmingly passed a measure that would restrict their use by the TSA to passengers flagged by other types of screening, such as metal detectors. The measure is pending in the Senate.

The $100,000 scanners shoot low-intensity X-rays that penetrate clothing, bounce off a person’s skin and create images that show solid objects as dark areas. The TSA machines have privacy additions to create images that look like etchings. Screeners view them on a monitor in a locked room near a checkpoint and delete them immediately after viewing.

Although the machines use X-rays, a 2003 report by the National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements, which Congress created to develop radiation guidelines, said people can safely be scanned by the machines up to 2,500 times a year.

The TSA has been testing scanners since early 2007, mostly on passengers who set off a metal-detector alarm and are taken aside for additional screening. The new scanners will be installed beginning early next year and will be used in place of metal detectors at checkpoints.

Passengers may choose to avoid the scanners and be screened by a metal detector, but those who do will be pulled aside for a pat-down.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • Delta Air Lines has completed the integration of its frequent flier program with that of its subsidiary, Northwest Airlines.  The combined program has more than 70 million members.  The Chicago Tribune also reports that that about half of the old Northwest Airlines planes that will get Delta’s colors have been repainted, and the rest will be finished by mid-2010.
  • Fortune Magazine offers a good read about “Making business travel fun and easy.”
  • Late-night host Conan O’Brien was banned from Newark Airport after the comic took a swipe at the Garden State’s largest city.  “The mayor of Newark, N.J., wants to set up a citywide program to improve residents’ health. The health care program would consist of a bus ticket out of Newark,” O’Brien cracked last week.  Only Newark Mayor Cory Booker wasn’t laughing.  In a YouTube video, Booker blasts “The Tonight Show” host and informs O’Brien that he isn’t welcome at the city’s bustling airport.  “Try JFK, buddy,” Booker said.  Booker must have seen a swell in traffic to his website because, more recently, he’s released another YouTube video where he “extends” O’Brien’s ban to all of New Jersey.  (I wonder if we’ll see a third video where the good mayor extends the ban to the entire tri-state region?)

EPA Seeks to Regulate Deicing Fluid Runoff at Airports

A recent report from the Associated Press notes that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed regulations would require airports to capture at least some of the deicing fluid after it is used to rid planes of ice and snow. The agency says those rules would reduce by 22 percent the discharge of chemicals, which lower oxygen levels in waterways and prevent fish and other aquatic creatures from breathing.

Not every airport lets the chemicals drain off the tarmac uncollected, but those that do range from some of the nation’s largest — including John F. Kennedy in New York and Chicago’s O’Hare — to small regional airports such as the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids.

Under the EPA’s proposed regulations, six of the nation’s 14 major airports that are the biggest users of deicing fluid — JKF, O’Hare, Cleveland-Hopkins International, Newark Liberty International in New Jersey, Boston Logan International and LaGuardia Airport in New York — would have to install deicing “pads” or other collection systems to contain 60 percent of fluid sprayed.  The airports would then have to make sure the collected liquid was treated to remove any toxins.

About 200 smaller airports would be required to collect 20 percent of the fluid by using technologies such as a glycol recovery vehicle, which is basically a vacuum that sucks up the chemical. Airports with less than 1,000 annual jet departures wouldn’t be affected.

Under existing rules, adopted in the 1990s, airports are required to minimize contamination of stormwater runoff and must monitor for pollutants, including deicing fluid. Some states have required additional measures when reports showed high levels of the chemicals.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • According to the Associated Press, passengers will see big changes from American Airlines,  including increased flying in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and Miami, but fewer flights in Raleigh/Durham, N.C. and St. Louis, where American is giving up major ground to Southwest Airlines.  AA will add 57 daily flights at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, 6 new destinations from JFK International Airport in New York, 2 new daily American and Eagle flights at Los Angeles and 19 daily departures added at Dallas/Forth Worth.  American and Eagle also will add 23 flights at Miami.  In St. Louis, AA and its regional affiliates will reduce daily departures by 46 and discontinue service to 20 destinations.  After the reductions, AA and Eagle will provide 36 departures per day to 9 destinations.  In Raleigh/Durham, service to three destinations will be discontinued and a total of 9 departures will be eliminated. Raleigh/Durham will continue to provide service to 8 destinations with 44 departures per day.
  • The New York Times reports that British Airways, the largest carrier between Europe and the United States, is starting a business-class-only service from London to New York on Tuesday and may eliminate some shorter flights to restore earnings.  Trips like London to Paris, the route on which British Airways pioneered the first international air service in 1919, may be among the first to go because of the shrinking profit margins and the impact of the competing Eurostar high-speed rail service.
  • Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the  hero of US Airways’ splash landing in the Hudson, is winging his way to a management position with the airline.  Sullenberger will return to work with the new title of “management pilot” and a seat reserved on the airline’s flight operations safety management team.