Re: [IWAR] US air safety/security

From: enelsonat_private
Date: Thu Jan 15 1998 - 15:51:28 PST

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    At 01:43 PM 98 01 15 -0500, you wrote:
    >   Posted at 8:56 a.m. PST Thursday, January 15, 1998 
    >                Airlines, couriers flunk test in hazardous cargo
    >   Associated Press
    >   WASHINGTON -- Despite warnings about the threat of terrorist attacks,
    >   airlines and courier services aren't following required security
    >   procedures designed to detect dangerous cargo, a government report
    >   found.
    >   Security is so lax that 10 packages wrapped in plastic and loaded with
    >   50 pounds each of pesticide slipped by airline personnel undetected in
    >   Miami three months ago and weren't discovered until one burst as it was
    >   being loaded onto a plane, the Federal Aviation Administration report
    >   said.
    >   ``The current level of compliance with approved security procedures was
    >   unacceptably low,'' the Department of Transportation's inspector general
    >   said after the FAA conducted its own inspection of airlines and courier
    >   services in New York and Miami in the aftermath of the incident.
    >   In response to the findings, Bruce Butterworth, the FAA's director of
    >   civil aviation security operations, issued a strict warning to airlines
    >   and courier services that transport cargo or baggage on airlines for
    >   customers.
    >   Butterworth also informed the airline industry in a November meeting
    >   that the FAA was considering new security procedures, according to a
    >   report obtained by The Associated Press. The report was signed by FAA
    >   Administrator Jane Garvey and Transportation Inspector General Kenneth
    >   Mead.
    >   ``We ran a number of tests and were not fully satisfied with procedures
    >   being followed for accepting cargo,'' FAA spokesman Eliot Brenner said
    >   Wednesday. ``Everyone involved has now been notified and is aware of the
    >   correct procedures.''
    >   Representatives of the airlines' trade group, the Air Transport
    >   Association, declined comment Wednesday.
    >   But terrorism expert Brian Jenkins, a member of a presidential
    >   commission formed after the July 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800, said the
    >   findings highlighted the panel's concern about cargo shipments.
    >   ``It is a great source of concern when any of these procedures are not
    >   being followed,'' Jenkins said in an interview. ``One is always going to
    >   find a violation here or there, but an indication that ignoring the
    >   rules is widespread practice is shocking and deplorable.''
    >   The Justice Department is investigating the Miami incident involving
    >   American Airlines, according to FAA officials. American Airlines
    >   officials did not return a call Wednesday seeking comment.
    >   The pesticide in question, Dowacide A Antimicrobial, when exposed to air
    >   releases fumes that can cause eye damage and burning in the lungs. It is
    >   considered highly dangerous and corrosive. Trying to check the pesticide
    >   as excess baggage would save the company money over shipping it as
    >   hazardous cargo.
    >   Cargo shipments already have proven deadly. In May 1996, a ValuJet plane
    >   crashed in the Florida Everglades, killing all 110 people on board.
    >   Investigators believe poorly packaged oxygen canisters ignited or fueled
    >   a fire that caused the crash. A year later, seven oxygen generators were
    >   shipped aboard a Continental Airlines flight in violation of rules
    >   imposed after the ValuJet crash. The canisters had not been listed as
    >   part of the shipment.
    >   FAA rules that have been in effect for years require air cargo companies
    >   and courier services, which deliver packages to the commercial airlines
    >   for shipment, to certify that bags or packages don't contain any
    >   explosives or hazardous materials. Airlines also are required to demand
    >   to see the documentation before loading the cargo.
    >   More stringent security procedures, including inspections, are required
    >   for first-time customers of the cargo companies.
    >   But when the inspector general tested courier services and airlines at
    >   airports in New York and Miami, it found:
    >   --Ten of the 17 courier services tested in Miami the last week of
    >   October were willing to accept packages from shippers they had not dealt
    >   with previously, but none of the 10 followed the security procedures.
    >   None of the 13 airlines that agreed to carry the packages followed the
    >   procedures, the report said.
    >   --Two of the 11 courier services and five of the 21 air carriers tested
    >   during the first week of November at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York
    >   failed to follow the FAA rules.
    >   ``It was obvious air carrier personnel were accepting packages even
    >   though they were unfamiliar with required procedures,'' the inspector
    >   general reported.
    >   Another round of inspections are to be held this month ``due to the
    >   unacceptable level of compliance,'' the inspector general said.
    >   Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater was expected to make the
    >   announcement today.
    >   The FAA said it was considering additional procedures that would require
    >   couriers who carry luggage or cargo onto planes to identify themselves
    >   as such and prohibit such couriers from trying to declare cargo as
    >   checked baggage.
    >   The problem of unscreened cargo attracted the attention of the
    >   President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism, formed after
    >   a terrorist bomb destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in December
    >   1988.
    >   In February 1997, the panel, which is headed by Vice President Al Gore,
    >   again urged more stringent rules for cargo shipments, including the use
    >   of bomb detection systems to inspect packages.
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