Press Release Article


Date: Feb 24, 2005
Press Release Number: 17-2005

Aviation Security Plan Provides $219 Million for Capital Improvements, Including Perimeter Intrusion Detection and Biometric Systems, and Enhanced Baggage Screening

The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today authorized a series of security enhancements at the region’s three major airports under a $219 million capital improvement initiative that will strengthen security systems and standards that already are among the toughest in the world.

The program includes aggressive measures that will advance safeguards related to detection, prevention and deterrence. Program highlights include $80 million for state-of-the-art perimeter intrusion systems; $14 million for expanded closed-circuit television systems; and $6 million to adopt standards presently being developed by federal authorities, most notably the introduction of biometrics systems for employee identification. Biometric systems apply the most sophisticated technology available to incorporate fingerprinting and iris scanning to verify the credentials of airport and airline personnel, keeping the Port Authority at the forefront of the world with respect to progressive security measures.

In addition, the Port Authority authorized Continental Airlines to proceed with a baggage screening enhancement program at Newark Liberty International Airport’s Terminal C. The program will integrate baggage screening and customer check-in into one, seamless process. The first step will be to move the existing CTX baggage-scanning equipment behind the ticket counters, which will significantly heighten the efficiency of the screening process, ensuring that baggage undergoes an even higher degree of scrutiny. The Port Authority authorized the airline to expedite construction so that it is complete by the peak summer travel season, and also authorized an application to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to assist in the funding.

The Port Authority also is working with the TSA to deploy pilot technology programs. As part of Continental’s baggage screening program at Newark Airport’s Terminal C, the TSA will deploy three REVEAL baggage-screening devices that use proven Computed Tomography (CT) technology to shrink the size and weight of the baggage screening system. This innovation allows for the performance of a more extensive analysis of the contents of a bag. The newly certified machines, expected to be deployed within the next 90 days, will make Newark Airport one of the first airports in the country to feature the CT scanning devices.

The Port Authority also will work with the TSA to develop standards for greater cooperation and coordination.

New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “The safety and security of the traveling public remains a top priority, and this latest program shows why the Port Authority’s airports are a model for aviation facilities everywhere. The work we have done with advanced security technologies to bolster surveillance, including ground-based radar and state-of-the-art motion sensors, has set the standard for the industry, and we will continue to pursue measures that protect our travelers and airport employees.”

New Jersey Acting Governor Richard J. Codey said, “We take the safety and security of the public very seriously, and the projects authorized today reaffirm our commitment to this vital issue. As industry leaders, we are always exploring ways and means by which we can augment security. This program, which includes new baggage screening measures at Newark Liberty International Airport and new pilot programs, will ensure we remain on the leading edge in aviation security.”

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “In addition to the many physical upgrades that are part of the package the Board authorized today – including the deployment of some of the latest available technology at Newark Airport – we also advanced an important program that will create greater cooperation and coordination between the Port Authority and the TSA. By implementing new processes, strategies and standards as soon they become available and by closely aligning Port Authority, TSA and airline security procedures and protocols, this region’s airports will continue to set the standard for security enhancements, both in terms of technology and personnel.”

Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “Since September 11, 2001, Port Authority staff has worked closely with the TSA, the airlines, and our other airport partners to introduce many new safeguards. But we know that as strong as our record has been on security, this important work is never done and we must remain vigilant. The Board will continue to commit unprecedented resources so that we can implement the best and latest technologies, policies and procedures to protect employees and the tens of millions of travelers who use these facilities.”

Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. said, “Providing safe and secure airports requires an ongoing commitment, which the Port Authority and its partners demonstrate by continually updating threat and vulnerability assessments so that we can create comprehensive security plans and programs. The Board’s action today allows us to continue implementing the latest enhancements that make our airports the vanguard in safety and security.”

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit rail system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.

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