Atlanta airport manager outlines ways to boost employee screening

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport general manager Miguel Southwell at a Congressional subcommittee hearing Tuesday testified on how the airport can improve security screening of employees, in response to a gun-smuggling scheme operating out of the Atlanta airport revealed in December.

Southwell said at the House transportation security subcommittee hearing that the airport has started a system “where all employees at Hartsfield-Jackson will have an expectation that they will be screened or inspected…. It is a great task but it is also something we have to contemplate because of the high profile of Atlanta as the world’s busiest airport.”

There will be exceptions, he said, for law enforcement, emergency personnel, other first responders and employees screened under different systems such as the Transportation Security Administration’s Known Crewmember program.

He said the airport is also looking to reduce the number of employee access portals from 70 to ten, and plans to reprogram employee access badges to limit the number of entrances a worker can use.