Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in US to start daily screening of employees

19 February 2015 (Last Updated February 19th, 2015 18:30)

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in the US is likely to soon initiate the process of full screening of all its employees, making it one of the very few airports in the country to do so.

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Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in the US is likely to soon initiate the process of full screening of all its employees, making it one of the very few airports in the country to do so.

The decision comes months after federal agents exposed a gun smuggling operation at the airport, which resulted in the arrest of a baggage handler and a passenger.

The airport employee entered the airport premises with guns and passed the weapons to a passenger who had already undergone security check.

The only other airports to carry out full screening of all its employees are the Miami International and Orlando International airports in Florida, which started the process owing to the past incidents of drug-smuggling busts involving employees.

"The environment has changed, and we have to change with that environment."

The 45,000 employees at the Atlanta airport, who work in its secure areas, have been going through occasional random screenings.

Wabe 90.1FM quoted Atlanta airport general manager Miguel Southwell as saying: "The environment has changed, and we have to change with that environment.

"If you have someone who wants to commit a terrorist attack, I don't believe random screening or a reasonable expectation is adequate."

The screening changes would include putting new facilities on the air fields for checks, and could take up to a year and a half to be implemented fully.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has been the world's busiest airport by passenger traffic since 1998, and by number of landings and take-offs since 2005. The airport has a total of 207 domestic and international gates.


Image: A line of automated and staffed ticketing counters inside Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Photo: courtesy of atlantacitizen.