Local Small Airlines Beef Up Security

By: Dana Arquilla
By: Dana Arquilla

The Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Agency are giving pilots and owners of private planes a heads-up.

A threat is stemming from a posting found online called to "Destroy All American Aircraft."

Now, rural airports around the country are tightening security, but aviation authorities in Panama City are not panicked. They say being part of a small community has its advantages.

Chuck Meyer, Precision Avjet Manager, says, "The people that come in and out of the airport, we pretty much track them on the computer, and we know most of the tail numbers since it is a small community."

Another advantage is Avjet's location, right next to the bay county international commercial airlines. This gives them added security most other small airlines don't have.

"The commercial airlines, you have to have a fence around it and you have to have security 24 hours a day. That's the biggest difference."

Anyone who enters the gate must also have a badge. Only airport personnel or plane owners can get a badge, and they must pass a thorough background check. Workers say they're not concerned with the recent threats.

Kevin Gorham, an Avjet partner, says, "If you were to look at the small plane behind us, it's about the same size of an SUV and the same amount of gas as an SUV. If you can think of what an SUV can do, that'd be the effect of what a terrorist could do with one of these airplanes."

Still, airports around the country are taking precautions to prevent any type of small plane disaster. The United States government is warning all airports to be extra vigilant, no matter the size of the plane.

8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647
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