Four L.A. Airports Set to Go Online With Security-Related IT Overhaul

Staff Reporter

Under pressure to comply with federal security regulations, officials at Los Angeles World Airports have approved $32.8 million in improvements as part of a master plan on information technology projects.

Through a presentation to the Board of Airport Commissioners, LAWA Chief Information Officer Louis Hook announced his plan to complete 13 projects by the end of 2005.

The plan would consolidate seven existing technology projects and streamline technology changes throughout the city's four airports: Los Angeles International, Ontario International, Palmdale Regional and Van Nuys.

"We've never had an information technology master plan," said LAWA spokeswoman Nancy Castles. "While there have been many projects with objectives for trying to coalesce these wide-ranging contracts, there was not a master plan. That was one of the things that was discussed prior to Louis coming on board."

Many of the projects are security-related. They include upgrading badge, fiber optics and wireless data networks and moving explosive detection devices behind ticket counters, rather than within the ticket lobbies. The largest single project would add 2,000 cameras to a closed-circuit television system, which would be converted to digital.

The push to create an IT Security Master Plan was accelerated after the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration instituted security mandates at all major airports.

Also, the LAX Master Plan, which includes security elements, is scheduled for City Council approval this fall. Several other improvements, such as renovations at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, are already being developed.

In July, the board approved the first phase of the plan by consolidating seven existing technology contracts worth $32.8 million. The first phase would focus primarily on design, planning and project management of 13 projects already under way. The second phase, estimated to cost another $83 million, would involve building the infrastructure for several of those projects.

The board also approved an increase of $5.8 million to LAWA Associates, a joint venture of Parsons Transportation Group Inc., a unit of Pasadena-based Parsons Corp., and Los Angeles-based DMJM, which is the primary contractor on the LAX Master Plan. DMJM is a division of AECOM Technology Corp. Under its contract, LAWA Associates would plan and manage all IT security-related projects.

LAWA Associates' original contract was approved on Sept. 11, 2001, for $8.2 million but was reduced to $1.8 million after the terrorist attacks put the IT Master Plan on hold.

Hook is the first full-time IT director at LAWA since Franklin Sterling resigned in early 2002. Since then, Roger Johnson, former deputy executive director of environmental affairs, and Paul Green, chief operating officer, have handled technology contracts on an interim basis, Castles said.

Sterling, now an airport consultant in Oakland, said several airports, not just LAX, have created information technology master plans in recent years.

"They all try to provide a template or a roadmap for the future development of systems, so that all the systems are compatible," he said.

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