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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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For the week of February 13 - 19, 2002


Management seeks airport security changes

Express Staff Writer

New federal legislation could allow Hailey airport management to remove some of the security measures implemented after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

The measures at first prompted praise from the traveling public, but are now beginning to be the source of complaints, said airport manager Rick Baird.

That is especially true of a rule that requires cars parked within 300 feet of the terminal to be searched for bombs. The rule not only results in higher parking rates, but is also unnecessary, members of the airport board said during a meeting last week.

"When you look at terrorist activity in other countries, they bomb schools, night clubs, hospitals, but I’ve never heard of an airport terminal being bombed," said board member Ron Fairfax.

Baird said he has never gotten an answer from the FAA about why the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., translate into a need to monitor cars parked near the terminal in Hailey.

From the traveling public, "not all comments are positive," Baird said. "People are saying, ‘look, you know, this is ridiculous. I’m tired of being searched.’"

The National Guard is scheduled to take over baggage screening at Hailey Feb. 17 as part of the airport security measures that have been evolving under the direction of the newly created Transportation Safety Administration.

Now that a head of the TSA, John Magaw, has been appointed, small airports like Hailey’s will be able to argue against some of the rules, Baird said.

Baird might try to build his case for eliminating the parking lot bomb searches by rallying the support of the county sheriff and Hailey Police Department.

Baird said also that the relationship between airport management and the National Guard stationed at the airport could be improved by better defining the troops’ role and improving communication.

Revenues are down at the airport, especially from commercial travelers, Baird said. Making commercial travel easier by streamlining security could help that.

Before Sept. 11, airports had pre-set plans for dealing with emergencies. The plans went into effect in their entirety immediately after the terrorist attacks, but now is the time to reevaluate the measures, Baird said.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.