Hartsfield Jackson International Airport to improve employee security screening

3 February 2015 (Last Updated February 3rd, 2015 18:30)

Hartsfield Jackson International Airport general manager Miguel Southwell has testified on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, about the security enhancements being implemented at the airport to improve passenger safety.

Hartsfield Jackson International Airport general manager Miguel Southwell has testified on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, about the security enhancements being implemented at the airport to improve passenger safety.

Southwell was quoted by ajc.com as saying: "The airport has started a system where all employees at Hartsfield-Jackson will have an expectation that they will be screened or inspected.

"It is a great task but it is also something we have to contemplate because of the high profile of Atlanta as the world's busiest airport."

According to Southwell, there are approximately 70 employee access points at the airport, which he plans to cut down to just ten to make physical screening easier.

"The airport has started a system where all employees at Hartsfield-Jackson will have an expectation that they will be screened or inspected."

However, he highlighted that there will be some exceptions to the 100% employee screening, which will include employees specially authorised by the US Transport Security Administration (TSA) such as law enforcement, first responders and other employees.

CBS46 cited Southwell as saying to the subcommittee on transportation security: "I'm not subscribing that every airport would screen all of its employees. We believe given the high-profile of Atlanta, it would be applicable."

The enhancements are being implemented after a security gap at the airport was highlighted in December. The FBI arrested a Delta baggage handler named Eugene Harvey after he was accused of sneaking guns into the airport during security clearance, reported 11Alive.

CNN recently conducted an investigation, which revealed that airport employees accessed aircraft and tarmacs without undergoing daily security screening, and officials admitted that criminal background checks were not done after workers were hired.

The investigation also found that several other airports, excluding Miami International Airport and Orlando International Airport, did not have regular security screening of all employees with secure access to pass through metal detectors.