WASHINGTON — Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Hanford Dole ordered six steps Thursday to improve security at U.S. airports, including tighter control of Tarmac areas and rigorous checks of employees as well as passengers.
Dole, acting on the preliminary findings of a special task force set up to review domestic aviation security, called the procedures "reasonable, common-sense measures to improve the security of the traveling public."
The study by the Safety Review Task Force is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Dole told Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Donald D. Engen to implement the initial recommendations that:
--The FAA require everyone, including airline and airport personnel, entering the area beyond the points at which passengers and baggage are checked to pass through X-ray and magnetometer screening unless ways of positively identifying those who bypass the process are in place.
--The FAA establish stricter regulations at airports with greater potential security threats.
--Airports be required to set up "contingency alert plans" so tighter security could be quickly put into place if necessary.
--Commuter and private aircraft carrying passengers who have not been screened should be physically separated from aircraft carrying screened passengers.
--Airport operators exercise tighter control of people and vehicles with access to the "air operations area," including runways and aircraft service areas.
--The number of unlocked doors and gates between public areas and air operations areas be limited.