Walla Walla Regional Airport to Get $160,000 Security Fix

Arriving passengers will be unable to return to the runway ramp once they’re inside the terminal.

By Vicki Hillhouse, April 14, 2014, Walla Walla Union Bulletin

Passengers entering the Walla Walla Regional Airport from the runway ramp will only get a one-way trip into the terminal building under a new project in the works.


One of the two automated doors that currently allows travelers in and out of the terminal from the ramp will be replaced with a one-way turnstile door slated for construction this summer, airport Manager Jennifer Skoglund said.


The project is to meet changing Transportation Security Administration regulations to prevent people from entering the ramp from an unsecured area. At airports around the country, the agency has identified issues with exits and passengers backtracking onto the ramp, Skoglund said.


The project — estimated at $160,000 with engineering, design, administrative and construction work — is expected to go to bid in about a month, Skoglund said.


It will qualify for federal funds through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program. That program provides grants to public agencies for improvements related to airport safety, capacity, security and environmental concerns. The FAA will cover 90 percent of the cost, with 10 percent covered locally, Skoglund said.


Last week Port of Walla Walla commissioners approved a contract with The DOH Associates, the Wenatchee-based design and architecture firm that designed the terminal building.


Skoglund said the company will remove the interior sliding door and fit a turnstyle there. A personnel door will also be installed for emergencies and accessibility.


She said there have been instances in Walla Walla of passengers returning to the ramp after entering the unsecured area of the terminal. Some may do so, for instance, after having mistakenly left something on the plane.


“The intent wasn’t there to cause any danger or harm, but they went from a secure to unsecure area and back again,” she said. “It showed us that we have an issue.”


In such instances, passengers under the new security system would have to wait for an Alaska Airlines agent before they could receive assistance.

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