Hawaii airport officials address security concerns after stowaway

If a 15-year-old boy can hop a fence and get on a plane without much planning and no one noticing, are airport security officials doing enough to keep travelers safe?

Hawaii airports have to follow a national standard of security measures. Officials say Hawaii’s airports are safe, but they are re-examining safety protocols to see how Sunday’s incident could be prevented.

There’s still no clear answer as to how it happened, but Maui Airports District Manager Marvin Moniz says the stowaway incident got security staff to check and make sure it doesn’t happen here.

“We went out, we did our rounds did our checks, and it did not appear at any one point that there was entrance onto the airfield,” he said.

Moniz says people have been able to climb over the fence and jump on the tarmac but no one has been able to actually get on a plane.

Moniz also says Hawaii airports have multiple levels of security: a private security firm, Securitas, patrols the perimeters along with the Transportation Security Administration.

“We also have airport police, who is actually the law enforcement guys who cover a little bit more of the high-risk areas, such as check points, but they do also patrols as well,” he said.

Moniz says Homeland Security also does routine checks, making sure that the barbed wires and fence posts are all intact and not rusted. Homeland Security also makes sure that routine patrols are being done and there’s enough staffing.

“What we can’t catch with cameras, we do vehicle patrol. We do foot patrols,” he said.

Moniz says surveillance cameras for the airports statewide were recently upgraded. Kahului Airport used to have 80 cameras and now has more than 200.

A Dept. of Transportation spokesperson says the department cannot reveal its security procedures and protocols, but says cameras are constantly monitored by airport security personnel.

Moniz says once the investigation in San Jose is done, Hawaii officials will have a better idea if local security measures need any improvements.

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