If this passes...welcome back to the good old days!!!
Thank f*n god!
'Airport wants airside terminal, mall open to public'
Saturday, November 01, 2003
By Mark Belko, Post-Gazette Staff Writer
Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the public has been barred from the boarding
terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport, unable to greet or send off loved ones at
the gate, and prohibited from shopping at the award-winning collection of shops
Now Allegheny County Airport Authority Executive Director Kent George is appealing
to local congressmen and Pennsylvania's two U.S. senators for help in lifting the
ban, which prevents people without tickets from going beyond the airport's security
George said he is taking his case directly to elected officials because of growing
frustration over the lack of a response from the U.S. Transportation Security
Administration, which oversees security at the nation's airports.
George is pitching a pilot program that would allow people without tickets to visit the
boarding terminal, known as the Airside Building, during nonpeak times.
They would continue to be barred during the airport's heaviest travel periods.
Visitors would have to undergo the same security screening as ticketed
"What we're talking about doing is opening up during nonpeak times the security
checkpoint and more fully utilize the checkpoint," he said. "If a line occurs, we will
immediately stop [permitting nonpassengers through] and wait until the lines are
taken care of."
George said that during a recent teleconference with airport operators, the TSA
indicated that it had no plans to lift restrictions preventing nonticketed visitors from
going beyond the security checkpoint, citing the loss of 6,000 security screener jobs
spokesman Mark Hatfield said yesterday the agency will give the authority's
request -- and any forthcoming from congressmen -- a "fair look" but pointed out the
is working with fewer screeners.
"Our core mission is passenger screening. With the limited amount of resources,
we have to address that first. We don't have the additional capacity at Pittsburgh or
elsewhere to extend screening to nonticketed passengers," he said.
Hatfield said the TSA
has fielded requests from other congressmen seeking to lift
restrictions at other airports but has not changed the policy so far.
George would like to have the restrictions lifted before the approaching holiday
season. Not only would that enable family and friends to greet or send off
passengers, he said, it would be a boost for Airmall merchants, who have lost
business because of the drop off in travel following Sept. 11 and cutbacks by US
Airways, the airport's dominant carrier.
"The decision is going to be based on our core mission, balanced with the available
resources," Hatfield responded. "It's not going to be linked to a calendar or a
George sent the letter to U.S. Reps. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair; Melissa Hart,
R-Bradford Woods; Bill Shuster, R-Blair; Mike Doyle, D-Swissvale; and John Murtha,
D-Johnstown; and U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum.
Don't shoot the messenger!
"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson