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"Virginia Regional Airport Looks to Improve Security"



Wednesday, October 2, 2002
 
Winchester Regional Airport Looks to Improve Security 
By Jodi L. Sokolowski 
The Winchester (VA) Star


Although national security mandates for regional airports have yet to be
established, the Winchester Regional Airport is already working to
enhance its security. 

"There's growing concern here because of increased traffic, growth we're
seeing, and larger business aircraft [flying in]," said Serena "Renny"
Manuel, Winchester Regional Airport executive director. "We're not
overreacting. We just want to be proactive instead of reactive." 

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, President Bush last November signed
into law the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which establishes
a new Transportation Security Administration within the Department of
Transportation to oversee security at commercial airports. 

However, regional airports are taking matters into their own hands by
organizing security committees. 

While the Winchester Regional Airport Security Committee met Tuesday in
a closed session, Manuel told The Winchester Star in a phone interview
how and why the airport is working to prevent and respond to security
threats. 

"We're seeing what we can do to improve areas by adding or changing any
extra steps," she said. 

They're addressing security, not just because of terrorist threats, she
said, but because Winchester Regional Airport has been growing in the
past several years with air traffic now seven days a week. 

The Airport Authority has extended the runway, increased the aircraft
parking area, built the terminal building, and installed an instrument
landing system that allows larger aircraft to come in during bad
weather. 

The Virginia Department of Aviation has a volunteer certification
program that gives general aviation airports - which includes all
regional airports - the opportunity to improve security. 

The Winchester Regional airport is now in the process of taking steps
toward its certification.


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