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News

FAA calls for security improvements at U.S. airports

x-ray machine
The FAA says airports need higher-quality X-ray devices to detect weapons  

January 7, 2000
Web posted at: 10:24 p.m. EST (0324 GMT)

By Correspondent Carl Rochelle

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Federal Aviation Administration says U.S. airport security needs improvement, and it has some suggestions.

The FAA is proposing better-trained, better-paid security personnel and higher-quality X-ray devices to detect weapons.

The action comes after studies showed screeners at European airports detected twice as many test objects as U.S. screeners.

"We saw," said Irish Flynn of the FAA, "that people who had longer training, somewhat better pay and benefits, better ongoing testing by the screening companies had much better performance in detecting objects than comparable screeners in the United States."

The average wage for a U.S. airport security screener is about $5.75 an hour, according to the FAA. Training is poor and few people stay on very long.

"In the United States we have many locations where the turnover exceeds 100 percent," Flynn said.

FAA officials also want to begin certifying the security companies that provide services at U.S. airports.

The X-ray devices proposed by the FAA allow security personnel to be tested by generating a false image of a gun. The idea is to see how well baggage screeners are doing their jobs.

The FAA is asking for 420 of the new machines at a cost of $60 million, to begin replacing existing equipment now in use.




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