Federal regulators have lodged dozens of security violations against Connecticut’s largest airport and its carriers over the past 10 years, including the failure by security agents to detect weapons in baggage during spot checks.
But the number of violations at Bradley International Airport is small when compared with other U.S. airports that handle a similar number of passengers annually, according to records from the Federal Aviation Administration that were analyzed by The Associated Press.
Bradley was the scene of 177 violations from 1990 to 2000. About two-thirds of these violations were logged from 1998 to 2000, as Bradley added carriers and expanded service.
The FAA declined to comment on the violations and on what kind of fines or corrective actions were taken.
“We can’t comment on any sensitive security information,” said FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac.
Five other airports that each handle around 7 million passengers annually saw three and four times the number of violations over the same time period.
The FAA reported few violations at other Connecticut airports: three at Tweed-New Haven Airport in 1995 and three at Sikorsky Airport in Stratford in 1992 and 1993. Violations at both airports included improper security screening.
At Bradley, the violations included the failure by security agents to uncover weapons in bags or on passengers a dozen times during FAA spot-checks over the past 10 years.
Security agents also failed to find one hand grenade and three dynamite bombs during some FAA spot-checks.
Airlines also were cited for security lapses, such as unstaffed access points.
In most cases, the violations resulted in warning letters from the FAA. The agency proposed a total of $95,000 in fines against airlines, but the FAA refused to discuss whether those fines were paid or reduced.
Bradley is run by the state through the Department of Transportation. State Police Troop W is responsible for security at the airport building and grounds, while each airline is responsible for security at its own gates.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Gov. John Rowland has also placed members of the Army National Guard on security details at Bradley.
This year, Bradley earned a perfect score in its annual FAA spot inspection, which reviews airport employees and facilities, rescue operations and equipment.
— Associated Press