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My Turn: New safety, security measures in place at Juneau Int'l Airport

Posted: Monday, October 22, 2001

Travelers will notice a number of changes and beefed-up security measures at Juneau International Airport. Changes and regulations outside the airport terminal include:

* All lanes of Shell Simmons Drive in front of the terminal are open for through traffic, with loading and unloading permitted in the two lanes closest to the terminal.

* The Federal Aviation Administration mandated a 300-foot perimeter no-parking area around the airport. The no-parking, no-curb-camping, no-unattended-vehicle rules still apply and are strictly enforced. Violators are being cited and towed.

* Taxis use the former short-term parking area to load and unload passengers. Taxis left unattended will be cited and towed.

* Park all other vehicles in long-term parking. The first 30 minutes are free.

* Yandukin Drive is now two-way. Watch for new stop signs and traffic patterns.

* Rental cars have been moved outside the 300-foot perimeter.

* The FAA mandated limited access to the airport, so some gates adjacent to the ramp area have been padlocked.

* National Guard personnel are at the Juneau Airport.

* Changes to security can and do change daily, so do not assume that procedures in place the last time you traveled are still current.

Inside the terminal, expect tightened security as well:

* Since there is no curbside baggage check in, passengers should arrive two hours prior to scheduled departure.

* Passengers must show government-issued photo identification.

* Electronic-ticketed passengers can use kiosks, which provide first-class upgrade services, or they can check in online.

* Only ticketed passengers are allowed in the departure area.

* All bags, including check-in bags, are subject to random searches.

* Pack manicure sets, files, hair spray aerosol cans, pocket knives, ulus, anything that could be deemed inappropriate, in check-in luggage or leave it at home. When in doubt, ask airline personnel what is allowable.

* Unattended bags will be confiscated and searched.

* Don't make jokes about security.

Juneau Airport security officer Archie Hinman says the number of security personnel has been doubled. The safety and security measures are federal directives related to President Bush's homeland defense program.

Juneau Airport Business Manager Patty deLaBruere says while it may seem that Juneau has been thrown into a cookie-cutter approach, Alaska has received a number of waivers thanks to the FAA Alaska Region Security without jeopardizing security and safety. Many FAA directives do not allow for special Alaska waivers, however.

DeLaBruere says the FAA is implementing security measures for good reasons, even if the reasons are not always explained.

The airport manager's office staff and the FAA are assessing options and expenses associated with reopening the short-term parking lot.

Travelers are encouraged to become part of Juneau airport's neighborhood watch system and to report anything suspicious to airport employees or by calling 789-9593. Address written comments to Allan Heese at the airport manager's office, 1873 Shell Simmons Drive, Suite 200, Juneau, 99801.

*****

Freelance writer Mary Lou Gerbi of Juneau submitted this article on behalf of the Juneau International Airport.



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