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Mon, Dec 22, 2003

Condition Orange: How One Airport Authority Responds

LAX, ONT Deal With Alert Amid Busy Holiday Travel Season

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) announced it has heightened alertness and increased security at its airports in response to the US Homeland Security Department's raising the national treat level to high ("Orange").

Airport Police are working with the Transportation Security Administration, local law enforcement officials and air carriers to implement a range of security enhancements appropriate to the heightened security alert.

LAWA officials said that all airline operations at Los Angeles International (LAX) and Ontario International (ONT) airports are normal and expected to remain routine throughout the holiday travel period that began Friday, Dec. 19, and continues through Sunday, January 4, 2003. An estimated 2.6 million passengers are expected to arrive and depart on flights at LAX during that period.

Travelers are urged to allow additional time for vehicle, passenger and baggage screening. LAWA recommends passengers allow 2 1/2 hours for airport security measures for domestic flights and 3 1/2 hours for international flights.

Airport officials noted that while the public may notice some increased security related to operational alertness, such as increased use of K-9 patrols in passenger terminals, other security measures are confidential and may go largely unnoticed by most people. Presence of additional uniformed officers in front of and inside the passenger terminals will also be noticed.

All vehicles entering the terminal areas at LAX and ONT will be subject to inspection. At LAX, Los Angeles Airport Police will establish vehicle checkpoints (similar to sobriety checkpoints) at three of the four entrances to the airport's Central Terminal Area: (1) westbound Century Boulevard, (2) 96th Street and (3) northbound Sepulveda Boulevard, north of the Sepulveda Tunnel. The fourth entrance at southbound Sepulveda Boulevard at Century Boulevard may be closed to all vehicles except those accessing the private parking lot, Park One.

At Van Nuys Airport (VNY), the general aviation airport operated by LAWA, airport police have increased patrols, closed some access points and implemented additional measures in coordination with tenants.

Unattended vehicles parked at the curb in front of LAX and ONT terminal buildings will be immediately impounded and towed at the owners' expense.

Law enforcement presence at LAX includes hundreds of uniformed and plainclothes officers from Airport Police, Los Angeles Police Department and numerous federal agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Air Marshals, US Customs and Border Protection, as well as the K-9 patrols and special operations units.

FMI: www.lawa.org

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