The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

December 1, 2013

Glass exit portals: Security to leave the airport

LEWISBURG — SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Now you have to pass through security to leave the airport.

Futuristic unmanned portals have replaced officers at the security exits of two small Northeast airports, adding a few seconds in a bulletproof glass pod to the end of every passenger’s trip.

The rounded exits at the Syracuse and Atlantic City, N.J., airports prevent passengers from backtracking into secure areas once they exit the plane and keep outsiders from entering through the exits. Travelers step into the elevator-sized cylinders and wait as a door slides closed behind them. After a couple of seconds, another door opens in front with a female voice coolly instructing, “Please exit.”

“I don’t understand those doors,” says Cindy Katz, of Jupiter, Fla., who came through the Atlantic City airport for the Thanksgiving holiday. “What are they supposed to do? It slows everyone down.”

They could be the wave of things to come as the Transportation Security Administration prepares to shift exit-monitoring duties to local airports next year as a way to save $88.1 million. The doors’ manufacturer, New York City-based Eagle Security Group, Inc., says it is in talks with other airports.

The technology saves airports from having to put paid security staff at the exit checkpoints. Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, who is pushing to keep the TSA in charge of exit monitoring, says such staffing could cost Philadelphia International Airport about $2 million a year.

Syracuse Aviation Commissioner Christina Callahan, whose airport installed eight portals this past fall at a total cost of about $750,000, says staffing each exit with a guard would cost about $580,000 a year.

“So when compared with the cost to install the portals, they will have paid for themselves and begin saving the airport money in little over a year,” Callahan said.

“Certainly funding is limited for staffing,” she said. “Airports are going to have to find other ways to keep up with mandates.”

In Atlantic City, the manpower savings from the portals are estimated at $300,000 a year, South Jersey Transportation Authority spokesman Kevin Rehmann said. The airport has had a version of the exits since about 2009, but upgraded its five portals last year as part of a $25 million terminal renovation.

The portals are intended to remove the potential for the kind of human error that was blamed for a 2010 breach that shut down a Newark Liberty International Airport terminal for several hours and caused worldwide flight delays after a Rutgers graduate student slipped under a rope to see his girlfriend off on her flight.

On recent evenings in both Syracuse and Atlantic City, there did not appear to be any sign of backups caused by the roughly five-second process of entering and exiting through the portals. Signs encouraged travelers to enter the pods in groups —they can accommodate up to six people at a time — rather than one by one.

“It went smoothly,” says Robert Beech, who arrived back home in Syracuse on a flight from New York City. “Just had to wait for the doors to open and close. Even with carry-on, pull-behind bags, you can still get through there without having to worry about bumping into things.”

Mindy Carpenter, of Cortland, who was waiting for friends to arrive from Washington state, says she wasn’t a fan of the doors.

“It just took so long for the four of them to come through,” she said.

The appearance of the exits in Syracuse provoked a blogger to label them “detention pods” in furtherance of a police state.

Aviation security expert Jeff Price calls the criticism unwarranted.

“It doesn’t do anything to you. There’s no privacy intrusion. All it does is prevent a backflow of people,” said Price, a professor at Metropolitan State University in Denver. “It’s not conducting a National Security Agency check or something.”

A common question among passengers is whether they are being scanned somehow while closed inside. While it is possible to equip portals with biometric scanning technology, officials say the current versions do nothing but form a barrier between the secure and nonsecure areas of the airport.

“We’re not scanning anything or doing anything really,” Rehmann said. “When one side’s open, the other side’s closed. Period.”

1
Text Only
News
  • Magistrate judge sides with Warrior Run

    WILLIAMSPORT — A federal magistrate judge says he agrees with a hearing officer that a Warrior Run student does not need special-education services,

    July 23, 2014

  • Inaugural Lewisburg BrewBQue Musical Festival is Saturday

    LEWISBURG — Not a beer fan? Not a problem. This Saturday’s inaugural Lewisburg BrewBQue Musical Festival, taking place from 2 to 6 p.m. on Market Street from Sixth Street to the Susquehanna River, welcomes brew lovers, barbecue fans, dancers in the street and little tykes alike with an array of events and offerings, organizers said.

    July 23, 2014

  • Decision coming on police shooting of city man

    SUNBURY — Brad Hare, the city’s former acting police chief, will learn by Friday whether he was justified in shooting a city man earlier this month, Northumberland County District Attorney Ann Targonski said Wednesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Union County bridge replacement project begins Aug. 4

    HARTLETON — A PennDOT maintenance crew in Union County will begin a bridge replacement project Aug. 4 on Pleasant Grove Road, Route 3005, in Lewis Township, between Moll Road and Wirth Road, north of Pleasant Grove.

    July 23, 2014

  • DanCrash23.jpg BREAKING NEWS: Woman killed today in Danville area collision

    DANVILLE – An older woman, from the area, was killed in a log truck-car crash at about 1:45 this afternoon at Routes 642 and 54 in Valley Township.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jay Paterno sues Penn State for 'rush to judgment'

    STATE COLLEGE - Two former Penn State assistant football coaches, including a son of the late Joe Paterno, are suing the university, alleging that it fired them prematurely after the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal surfaced.

    July 23, 2014

  • 400-pound bull on the lam

    State police and a western Pennsylvania cattle owner are looking for a 2-year-old bull that has been missing for more than a week.

    July 23, 2014

  • Complainer: Cars whiz by, and drivers take whiz

    The Pennsylvania Turnpike has asked state police to increase patrols near an area of the toll road where a woman says she can see motorists exposing and relieving themselves near her backyard.

    July 23, 2014

  • spider24online.jpg Arachnid alert!

    We came across this spider brunching on another today near the American Legion post in Herndon. We aren't sure what type of spiders they are. Particularly the one with the full stomach. Do you?

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today's Editorial: Experts showing the way for reform

    Domestic abuse remains one of the most prevalent crimes nationally yet remains routinely unreported.

    July 23, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.