Airport CEO justifies recent changes

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The Chief Executive Officer of the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority, Stanley Smith has justified recent security changes put in place at Runway 10 which resulted in the merger of two gates, despite complaints from key individuals.
Airport officials have closed Gate 10 which was used by passengers departing on private jets; they will now have to access the private facilities through Gate 7.
Smith said in early March airport officials decided to close gate number 10 which was in close proximity to gate number 7, as there was no need for two gates to be so close to each other. He said in addition to this, gate number 10 is located in an area which is not ideal for security screenings nor conducive to proper security screenings.
 “Because of that, we started to do foot screenings at Gate 7 where we have basically beefed up the number of security. We use to operate there for just a short period of time. Now we have basically covered the operating hours of Runway 10. If there is any need to screen after certain hours, airport security actually does the screening.” Smith said during an interview on Monday.
His response follows concerns that the changes were made at the airport as a result of a recent cocaine bust,  one of which was on a corporate jet at Runway 10 and suggestions that the standard of business at the airport is being lowered to correct the problem.
Concerns were also raised about the use of a private security contractor instead of security employed by the airport authority and whether or not background checks were done on the security guards who are employed.
Providing a rationale for the changes, the airport CEO said the changes were taken to better streamline security measures at Runway 10.
Smith was also asked about security screenings at Runway 10 in light of a March 2 memorandum to security supervisors which outlined specific requirements for the screening of private aircraft passengers.
 The memo indicated that only the driver of the vehicle that is dropping off the passenger/crew should be screened and screening of staff will be done in accordance with the regular screening procedures.
In responding to this particular question, the CEO stated that because of the peculiarity of Runway 10, airport officials do not wish to subject passengers to double screening.
So, the individual driving the vehicle will be screened while the passenger is screened inside the terminal building before entering the aircraft.
The airport official said this should not be a concern because the airline and airport utilise the services of private security personnel who are trained before they assume their duties.
Despite the complaints, the CEO said he is satisfied that Gate 7 is sufficient to serve the traffic that usually comes through Gate 10 which is no longer in use.

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