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LAX to Test System To Cut Checkpoints

LAX to Test System To Cut Checkpoints

By DAVID GREENBERG

Staff Reporter

Los Angeles International Airport will be used as a testing facility for a federal program designed to reduce the wait for passengers at security checkpoints.

Under the program, to be conducted in conjunction with American Airlines at Terminal 4, all security checks will be handled at the first checkpoint that passengers encounter as they head for the gate area. Security checks would be eliminated at the boarding gate. LAX is the first airport to test the program.

Federal officials said they expect the pilot program to be ready by Nov. 19, the date when all of the nation’s airports must meet stricter, federally mandated security requirements.

“Part of my job is to take actions that reduce the hassle factor for our passengers,” said Ret. Navy Rear Admiral David Stone, the federal Transportation Security Administration’s security director assigned to LAX. “It does me no good to have a totally secure airport that nobody’s coming to.”

Currently, passengers who have picked up their tickets must pass their carry-on baggage through an X-ray machine and walk through a magnetometer at the first checkpoint that leads to the gate area. Passengers are then randomly checked at the boarding gate.

“If (security) is doing the job right, it should be enough with one screening,” said David Forbes, president of BoydForbes Inc., an aviation security consulting firm.

If the pilot program is successful, Stone said he will recommend that it be extended to LAX’s eight other terminals.

Terminal 4, where a $300 million renovation was just completed, was selected for the program because it is larger than other terminals and it would be easier to add security checkpoint lanes.

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