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"CBS 5 Investigates Lax Security At Phoenix Area Airports"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 2 Feb 2008 10:33:46 +0430
Friday, February 1, 2008
5 Investigates Lax Security At Valley Airports
KPHO-TV Ch 5 (CBS), Phoenix (AZ)
PHOENIX -- CBS 5 investigated potential security risks at local airports
just days before Glendale is set to host one of the biggest events ever to
come to the Valley.
Security at Sky Harbor Airport is a hassle, but it's meant to keep
terrorists off airplanes.
But as 5 Investigates found, gaining access to runways and airplanes at
other Valley airports can be as easy as walking through a door at the mall.
5 Investigates tested the security at five airports in and around the Valley
and found some unbelievable security holes, including hundreds of airplanes
anyone can get their hands on.
The airports are in Glendale, Chandler, Coolidge, Eloy and Casa Grande. All
are within a short flight of this weekend's Super Bowl, and they're all
small or "general aviation" airports that cater to private and charter props
"No security cameras anywhere. None," counterterrorism consultant Bob Newman
Newman accompanied 5 Investigates onto the tarmac and runways at all five
At each stop, he spent 45 minutes wandering around the planes --
single-engine props, King Air charters, even a DC-7.
5 Investigates videotaped the planes, tried to open doors and even got
inside planes in Chandler, Eloy and Glendale.
"We were able to walk just right through and out onto the tarmac. Should we
have been able to do that?" investigative reporter Morgan Loew asked.
"That depends on who you ask. But since you're asking me, the answer is
absolutely not," Newman said.
In Coolidge and Eloy, there was nobody monitoring the self-service fuel
"I can take an aircraft, very easily, come over here, fill it right up with
my credit card and I'm off to the Super Bowl. Except I'm not there to watch
the game," Newman said.
In Casa Grande, there were at least two openings in the shiny new airport
fence big enough to drive through and reach the runway.
"We weren't out there looking for snipers and electric fence," Loew said.
"We were looking for very basic security measures and we didn't appear to
find any of them."
"If you were to do the same check today, or as you get even closer to the
Super Bowl, you would find an increased security awareness by not only our
members, by the airport employees and also by the local law enforcement,"
said Phil Boyer, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Boyer said the billions of dollars it would take to secure every general
aviation airport across the country outweighs the relatively small risk of a
terrorist stealing a small plane.
"At this moment, should the general public be concerned about GA airports?
Not anymore than all kinds of other public facilities," Boyer said.
But Newman argues that even a small plane in the wrong hands could create
panic -- targeting a school, chemical plant or even the Super Bowl would
spark chaos even if the planned attack failed.
"A terrorist can come to a general aviation airport and have the same effect
economically and never kill a soul," Newman said.
Security at general aviation airports is not regulated by the federal
government; instead, security decisions are left to the local governments
that run those airports. 5 Investigates notified officials with the state
and each city where the airports are located about the results of the
The airports have increased security this week; the FAA has imposed flight
restrictions over the Phoenix area for game day; and at least three of the
airports -- Chandler, Glendale and Casa Grande -- are either in the middle
of security upgrades or have them planned for the near future.
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