Washington, DC – Senator Susan Collins has received assurances from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the border agency within DHS, is expected to soon appoint a permanent Port Director at Bangor International Airport (BIA). The airport director at BIA had expressed concern earlier this month to Senator Collins that there has been no permanent Port Director at the airport for nearly three years, in spite of a number of interim directors serving in that position.
“I received reassurances from DHS that it would soon select a permanent director for this vital position. The Port Director at BIA plays an important role in helping the airport successfully carry out its homeland security responsibilities, under CBP,” said Senator Collins. “A Port Director is also critical to the success and efficiency of daily operations, personnel management, and customer service.”
CBP was created under DHS to combine the inspectional workforces and broad border authorities of U.S. Customs, U.S. Immigration, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the U.S. Border Patrol. Senator Collins pressed CBP to appoint a permanent Port Director in response to concerns by BIA officials that a permanent leader was necessary to guide the transition at the airport to operations under the new agency.
Senator Collins also received assurances from DHS that CBP currently has no plans to suspend “technical stops,” which are operational or emergency landings that an aircraft may make en route to its destination. Technical stops include landings for refueling and ground services, medical and mechanical emergencies, or security purposes. The federal government currently allows technical stops as long as certain requirements are met. BIA directors had expressed concern to Senator Collins that CBP might be considering discontinuing permission for these types of landings.
“The ability to conduct a technical stop is critical for commercial and private flights that may experience a mechanical problem, a medical emergency onboard, or even unruly passengers that threaten the safety of the flight. There have been a number of occasions that BIA has served as an emergency landing point for flights dealing with such emergencies. It is important for flight safety and homeland security that technical stops be allowed to continue,” said Senator Collins.