PHILADELPHIA – Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, met with federal and local partners to discuss security operations at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).
Ahead of the busy July 4th holiday weekend and just weeks before the start of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Senator Carper toured the airport’s checkpoint areas that screened nearly 31 million passengers last year, or 86,000 travelers per day. Senator Carper also held a roundtable discussion with Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), airport, airline and local law enforcement officials to hear about efforts to ensure passengers reach their final destinations safely and in a timely manner.
“Making sure our nation’s airports, especially one as busy as Philadelphia International, are both secure and efficient is no easy task, which is why no one group can do it alone,” said Senator Carper. “Aviation security is a shared responsibility, and I’m encouraged to see the cooperation between federal agencies, law enforcement officials and the airlines here in Philadelphia to ensure that passengers can get where they’re going safely and efficiently. With all eyes on this city for one of the biggest events of the summer, I am confident Philadelphia will be ready for the surge in visitors with these stakeholders working together.”
Carper stressed that security must remain a priority at airports nationwide. He noted, “The tragic attacks at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport earlier this week are a reminder that there are still very real security threats to our large transportation hubs, like airports and train stations. I have, along with my Democratic colleagues in the Senate, introduced an amendment to the bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that will strengthen security in non-secure areas of airports, like at check-ins and baggage claim. Our amendment, which I hope will be included in the final package, will deter bad actors and give law enforcement more tools they can use to keep Americans safe.”
Senator Carper also pointed to the innovative ways that TSA is working with partners at airports across the country to increase efficiency without compromising security. By utilizing trusted traveler programs like Pre-Check and partnering withairlines, TSA is proving that passengers don’t have to choose between safety and convenience. For instance, just last month, TSA launched an “Innovation Lane” in partnership with Delta Air Lines at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) that will improve passenger throughput by 30 percent.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to host Senator Tom Carper. We value his knowledge regarding airport security and appreciate his efforts to make flying safer for our passengers,” said Chellie Cameron, CEO of Philadelphia International Airport. “Keeping PHL safe requires a partnership with many stakeholders, and I want to recognize the efforts of our local TSA employees, Customs and Border Protection officers, Philadelphia Police officers, Philadelphia Fire Fighters, and airline partners. Together, we will continue our work to ensure a secure environment for travelers and employees at Philadelphia International Airport.”
“Working closely with our airport, air carrier and law enforcement partners has enabled Philadelphia International Airport to overcome challenges of a record travel season already. Together, we’re providing effective security for America through Philadelphia, while at the same time improving the passenger experience,” said Dereck Starks, Federal Security Director Philadelphia International Airport.
A full list of the officials who joined Senator Carper is below:
· Dereck Starks, Federal Security Director, Transportation Security Administration
· Gary Renfrow, Deputy Federal Security Director, Transportation Security Administration
· John Schaal, Federal Air Marshal Supervisor In Charge, Transportation Security Administration
· Kieran Sheridan, Airport Chief Operating Officer, PHL
· Folasade Olanipekun-Lewis, Airport Chief Administrative Officer, PHL
· James Kimrey, Captain, Philadelphia Police Department (PPD)
· Margaret Braunstein, Acting Area Port Director, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
· Gary McHenry, Philadelphia Watch Commander, U.S. Customs and Border Protection
· Cedric Rockamore, Vice President, American Airlines
· Judy McMurtry, Station Manager, Delta Air Lines, PHL
· Nishal Nawbatt, General Manager, JetBlue Airlines, PHL