• Lawmakers question TSA new uniform purchase

    Republican lawmakers want to know why the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has signed a contract worth  $50 million for new uniforms for the agency’s employees, at the same time that officials are complaining that budget cuts are causing staff shortages, flight delays, and longer lines at security checkpoints.

  • Lute to leave DHS after shepherding cybersecurity executive order effort

    Jane Holl Lute, the deputy secretary of DHS, will leave the department to pursue her interest in the international Internet business. Lute was involved in formulating DHS position on cybersecurity, especially with the shift in President Barack Obama’s executive order on cybersecurity from two months ago, in which the role of private industry and DHS in bolstering Internet security was emphasized, and the role of the National Security Agency (NSA) diminished.

  • Flight attendants not invited to Hill hearings on airplane security

    The House Transportation Security Subcommittee has scheduled an upcoming hearing on Thursday titled “TSA’s Efforts to Advance Risk-Based Security: Stakeholder Perspectives,” but the hearing will not include a representative of America’s flight attendants. This omission has upset the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions.

  • FAA fines NYC airports for using untrained personnel for fire, emergency duties

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) fined LaGuardia, Newark, and John F. Kennedy airports $3.5 million dollars for failing to train firefighters and aircraft-rescue personnel.

  • Lawmaker wants the FAA to keep Midway control tower operating

    Representative Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) is not happy with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) decision to add Midway Airport to the list of air ports whose air-traffic control towers  are subject to closing during overnight hours because of the federal budget cuts.

  • New Airport security system to help special needs travelers

    The Transportation Security Administration is training some of its employees to act as Passenger Support Specialists in order to help the disabled, people with medical condition, and people who are traveling with small children through the security process.

  • A more powerful terahertz imaging system developed

    Low-energy terahertz radiation could potentially enable doctors to see deep into tissues without the damaging effects of X-rays, or allow security guards to identify chemicals in a package without opening it. An electrical engineering research team has developed a laser-powered terahertz source and detector system which transmits with fifty times more power and receives with thirty times more sensitivity than existing technologies. This offers 1,500 times more powerful systems for imaging and sensing applications.

  • Budget cuts force the FAA to shut down 149 control towers

    The FFA will have to cut $637 million before 30 September. It plans to do so by give 47,000 employees two week furloughs, shutting down 149 control towers, and cutting overnight shifts at seventy-two different traffic facilities. Some worry about the impact these measures will have on air travel safety.

  • Lawmakers call on TSA to reverse knife rule

    Two leading lawmakers have called on TSA to reverse its ruling which would allow passengers to bring some types of knives with them on board. “The attacks on September 11, 2001, demonstrated that in the confined environment of an airplane, even a small blade in the hands of a terrorist can lead to disaster,” Rep. Ed Markey (S-Mass.) — who is running for the U.S. Senate seat recently vacated by John Kerry – wrote TSA director John Pistole.

  • Airports yet to be affected by sequestration-related cuts

    Since sequestration went into effect last Friday, both  airport authorities and DHS have been saying that that passengers should prepare themselves for  longer wait times at security checkpoints. So far, airports in major cities have reported no discernible increase in wait time at security lines.

  • TSA would allow knives on planes beginning 25 April

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) yesterday announced that, starting 25 April, the prohibition against carrying knives on board would be lifted. TSA would also allow other items banned since 9/11, such as lacrosse sticks, ski poles, and small, souvenir baseball bats. The flight attendants union was quick to condemn to move, calling the decision “dangerous” and “designed to make the lives of TSA staff easier, but not make flights safer.”

  • FAA investigates on-board dance

    Last month the Colorado College ultimate frisbee team, along with other passengers, took part in a YouTube sensation known as the Harlem Shake during a packed flight on Frontier Airlines from Colorado Springs to San Diego. The FAA is now investigating whether safety regulations were violated.

  • Increasing the sensitivity of airport security screening

    The latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions podcast series reports a simple way to improve the sensitivity of the test often used to detect traces of explosives on the hands, carry-ons, and other possessions of passengers at airport security screening stations.

  • Revealing full-body scanners to be removed from airports

    One of the more controversial post-9/11 security devices, the ubiquitous and uncomfortably intrusive full-body scanners, will be removed from service by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). On Friday, the agency announced it would begin to remove the scanners from U.S. airports this summer. The anatomically revealing backscatter scanners are being replaced by the ore discreet millimeter wave devices.

  • TSA hits new record in gun collection at airports in 2012

    The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) set a new record by confiscating 1,500 weapons in 2012, with 1,295 of the weapons being loaded; most of the confiscated weapons at airports are guns, but TSA has also caught passengers trying to board planes with grenades, stun guns, axes, and throwing stars; one passenger tried to board a plane carrying a bazooka, and another passenger was trying to bring a rocket launcher on board