The news is just starting to emerge that the airport may have mishandled Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas day. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization Annex 17 (Aviation Security) and TSA regulations, Title 49 CFR Part 1542, the aircraft should have been taken to a remote parking location on the airport; passengers should have been searched; checked baggage, cargo and all other baggage should have been searched. The area was not evacuated and passengers were not searched after being de-boarded.
Northwest/Delta spokespeople are sticking to their story that the aircrew acted appropriately. That’s a nice story for the media, but everyone in the industry who is familiar with an Airport Security Program or Aircraft Operator Standard Security Program knows that procedures were not followed. Fortunately, there wasn’t another threat on the plane or else one tragedy would have been avoided just to have another one due to sloppy procedures.
One point in the article (hot linked above) to be corrected. Winn notes that airports and airlines have their security programs approved by TSA. That is true in the case of airport operators, but the air carriers follow a standardized security program issued to them by TSA.
The core issue is this — it comes back to education AGAIN. Procedures were not followed. TSA had watch list failures. The air carrier and airport had operational and procedural failures. Everyone in industry needs to be as educated on aviation security as they are on aviation safety issues.