The August 10 theft and crash of a Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 is beginning to raise security concerns on Capitol Hill. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), the ranking Democrat on the Senate aviation subcommittee, is asking for a hearing on the incident and the effectiveness of security protocols.
In a letter to Senate Commerce Committee leaders, Cantwell said the theft of the aircraft from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport “exposed an issue with our nation’s airport security protocols.”
While the incident is still under investigation by a number of agencies, including the FBI and National Transportation Safety Board, Cantwell said the committee should hear from both agencies and stakeholders involved in airport security. “The fact that this incident occurred at Sea-Tac, which is one of the few large airports in the country to require full screening for all employees who work in the sterile area, shows that we need to continually adapt security measures to meet new threats,” she said. Cantwell further questioned how technology could ensure aircraft could not be used inappropriately.
In addition to Cantwell’s inquiry, a number of organizations have received inquiries about security involved in the Horizon Air crash. The Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) highlighted a fact sheet detailing repair station security protocols.
“For the aviation maintenance industry, good security is good business,” ARSA stated, pointing to a variety of measures that repair stations undertake, including alarm systems, video surveillance, employee security training, perimeter locks, liaison with local law enforcement, employee badging, and utilization of security guards.