Pas­sen­ger car­ries gun on Ja­pan flight

The Philippine Star - - WORLD -

WASHINGTON — A pas­sen­ger made it through a Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion (TSA) check­point with a gun on Jan. 2, board­ing a Delta Air Lines flight from At­lanta Harts­field-Jack­son In­ter­na­tional Air­port and fly­ing to Tokyo, au­thor­i­ties said on Sun­day, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in the Washington Post.

The TSA con­firmed the in­ci­dent in a state­ment on Sun­day night, but it de­nied that it was re­lated to call-outs stem­ming from the gov­ern­ment shut­down, as hun­dreds of air­port screen­ers are work­ing with­out reg­u­lar pay.

”TSA has de­ter­mined stan­dard pro­ce­dures were not fol­lowed and a pas­sen­ger did in fact pass through a stan­dard screen­ing TSA check­point with a firearm,” the agency said.

“TSA has held those re­spon­si­ble ap­pro­pri­ately ac­count­able.”

Delta said the pas­sen­ger brought the gun on flight DL295 from At­lanta to the Tokyo re­gion’s Narita In­ter­na­tional Air­port on Jan. 2, and as soon as the pas­sen­ger re­ported car­ry­ing the firearm, the air­line dis­closed the of­fense to the TSA.

The agency said the pas­sen­ger was co­op­er­a­tive and “was met by Ja­panese au­thor­i­ties upon land­ing.”

The in­ci­dent came days af­ter a re­ported uptick in TSA staff call-outs, lead­ing some to spec­u­late that the screen­ing mis­take was re­lated to the gov­ern­ment shut­down.

But the TSA strongly de­nied any con­nec­tion, say­ing the per­cent­age of call-outs on Jan. 2 was five per­cent, the same per­cent­age that called out a year prior on Jan. 3, 2018.

TSA ad­min­is­tra­tor David Pekoske an­nounced last Fri­day that agency em­ploy­ees will re­ceive a day’s pay if they worked on Dec. 22, and that uni­formed of­fi­cers will also net a $500 bonus for their ef­forts dur­ing the hol­i­days — pay to be re­ceived by Tues­day, the agency said.

TSA screen­ers stop pas­sen­gers — many of them for­get­ful or un­wit­ting — from car­ry­ing loaded guns onto planes in their carry-on lug­gage fairly reg­u­larly through­out the year; a re­ported 4,000 firearms were seized at check­points in 2017.

In­stances in which armed pas­sen­gers make it through se­cu­rity are rare. Staffing is­sues prompted Hous­ton’s Ge­orge Bush In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Air­port to close one of its TSA screen­ing lines on Sun­day, ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports.

Mi­ami In­ter­na­tional Air­port closed one of its con­courses for half the day last Satur­day and Sun­day, and air­port of­fi­cials said they plan to do the same on Mon­day out of con­cerns that they wouldn’t have enough em­ploy­ees to op­er­ate all the se­cu­rity check­points.

AFP

Pas­sen­gers fly­ing from Mi­ami In­ter­na­tional Air­port wait in line to en­ter the check­point at Con­course F, where some of the flights of a closed ter­mi­nal were di­verted, in Florida on Sun­day. Op­er­a­tions at Con­course G were shut down dur­ing the week­end due to a short­age of se­cu­rity agents sparked by the par­tial US gov­ern­ment shut­down.

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