PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) achieved two of its most significant 2004 security objectives in December. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, convened a briefing on its annual assessment of the Airport's security status, which was overwhelmingly positive. Prior to the assessment briefing, the TSA also completed its review and approval of PHL's completely revised and updated Airport Security Program. The newly approved program meets or exceeds all post-9/11 standards and requirements, including many that were published for the first time earlier this year.
PHL was also successful in obtaining supplemental funding from the TSA for reimbursement of 2004 law enforcement officer and canine program costs. Receipt of these federal funds will enable the Airport to issue credit invoices to its tenant airlines totaling $741,000. This is another successful initiative by the Airport to relieve economic pressure on the airlines at a time when the industry is beset by volatile fuel costs.
"The security of our passengers is far and away our number one priority," stated Charles J. Isdell, the city's Director of Aviation. "The TSA has done an outstanding job in Philadelphia, and we work together in partnership with them in pursuit of that mutual objective."
Although video surveillance is not a TSA requirement, PHL was one of the first airports in the nation to use surveillance cameras to digitally record activity at its security checkpoints. The ability to quickly review video and assess suspected incidents has been an invaluable tool utilized extensively by both the TSA and the Philadelphia Police Department.
Recently completed International Terminal A-West, incorporated a pioneering in-line, Explosive Detection System featuring 15 high-speed CTX machines. Terminal A-West also has two 3-lane passenger-screening checkpoints, 410 card-reader doors, and 325 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras. Almost 900 CCTV cameras are now in active use throughout the Airport. About half of them digitally record activity at checkpoints and other strategic locations. The CCTV system works in conjunction with an 1,100-door Access Control System to create a secure environment for passengers. The TSA currently operates a total of 32 passenger-screening lanes at PHL. A planned expansion of Terminals D and E will create up to 14 additional passenger-screening lanes and add an undisclosed number of additional cameras.
"Passenger security is a constantly evolving discipline," stated Isdell. "Our goal is to remain on its cutting edge both operationally and technologically."
The Philadelphia Airport System is owned and operated by the City of Philadelphia and is composed of Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport. The Airport System is a self-sustaining entity that operates without the use of local tax dollars. It is one of the largest economic engines in Pennsylvania, generating an estimated $8 billion in spending to the regional economy and employing a workforce of nearly 22,000.