Tulsa Airport Security Worse Than Bigger Peers', FAA says

Sunday, September 16th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa International Airport has had more security violations over the past decade than some larger airports, including Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, according to a published report.

A review by the Tulsa World of a database of Federal Aviation Administration enforcement actions from 1990 through 1999 indicated that Tulsa International ranks 40th in the nation in security violations for the period.

Many of the 372 security violations at the airport were due to airline employees failing to follow proper procedures. The FAA levied nearly $160,000 in fines against airlines and individuals as a result of the violations.

Tulsa International ranks 68th nationally in its passenger total, just behind Will Rogers World Airport. Oklahoma City's airport had 332 security violations from 1990 through 1999, FAA data showed, ranking it 44th nationally in security violations. The FAA levied more than $154,000 in fines as a result.

The FAA data didn't give details on the security breaches at Tulsa International. Eight out of 10 violations at the Tulsa airport involved airline employees.

Tulsa International had more security violations than many larger airports, such as those in Denver, San Antonio and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Records show that Southwest Airlines employees were cited with the largest number of security violations - 124 - at Tulsa International. American Airlines employees were cited for violating security regulations 100 times in Tulsa during the 10 years.

The remaining violations at Tulsa International were divided evenly between employees of other airlines and individual passengers who violated security regulations.

Carl Pritchett, the deputy director of airport operations, said the FAA frequently tests security at airports to determine whether employees can detect weapons and other contraband. He said many of the security violations involving airline employees were likely a result of employees failing the tests.

Pritchett said workers who screen passengers and bags for weapons are employed by various airlines - not by the airport or the government.

The 10 airports with the most security violations during the period studied by the World are: Los Angeles International, Dallas-Fort Worth, Phoenix Sky Harbor, JFK International in New York, San Francisco International, Seattle-Tacoma International, Miami International, Houston Intercontinental, Philadelphia International and Ontario International.

Boston's Logan International Airport ranked 23rd in security violations, although it ranked 18th in terms of the number of passengers in 1999.

Two of the jetliners used in Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were hijacked after taking off from Logan.

Newark (N.J.) International, the origin of a third hijacked flight, ranked far lower in the number of security violations than did other airports its size. Newark ranked 50th in the total of security violations but eighth in the number of passengers reported.

Dulles International in Washington, D.C., the departure point for the fourth hijacked plane, ranked 31st in security violations and 25th in the number of passengers.