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Airport Security

Airport Security

Ex-UNC board chairman arrested after gun seized at Charlotte airport security checkpoint

CHARLOTTE John Fennebresque, the former chairman of the UNC Board of Governors, was arrested Thursday after he tried to take a gun through a security checkpoint at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, according to WSOC-TV.

Fennebresque, a Charlotte lawyer, was arrested at 10 a.m. on a misdemeanor charge of possession of a firearm on city property, jail records show. He was released on $500 bail.

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Crow Wing County Board: County to share airport security costs

The city of Brainerd will get help in covering its costs for providing security at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.

The Crow Wing County Board Tuesday agreed to pay the city $12,000 annually through 2020 for security provided for all incoming and outgoing commercial flights at the airport by the Brainerd Police Department. The security from law enforcement is required by the Transportation Security Administration and is in part funded by a federal grant. Those grant dollars are on the decline, the city of Brainerd reported, and no longer covers the cost of security. In 2014, the city incurred $18,000 in costs beyond the $22,000 grant. The airport is jointly owned by Crow Wing County and the city of Brainerd. County Administrator Tim Houle said at one time, the sheriff’s office and the police department shared security responsibilities. When it became a federal requirement post-9/11, Houle said Brainerd took on the full responsibility of security despite not having jurisdiction at the airport, in part due to logistics. The grant covered the full cost of security at the time, so cost-sharing was not an issue.

“As you can imagine, our deputies are strung across the geography of Crow Wing County, so it was more difficult logistically for us to get a deputy to the airport half of the time,” Houle said. “Clearly it seems to me to be in our best interest for us to continue the current method of providing coverage, because of their proximity to the airport.”

The county and the city share costs associated with the airport in other ways, Houle said. Brainerd covers the costs of accounting services, while the county covers the costs of legal services. The resolution passed Tuesday extends the shared costs to security, although the agreement is contingent upon whether the city seeks annexation of the airport property. The Brainerd City Council has indicated this is a possibility in light of the city’s extension of sewer and water services to the airport this year. The amount the county will pay to the city as part of the agreement is fixed at $12,000 and will not change if the grant continues to decrease.

“As the TSA grant goes down, that gap would probably continue to grow,” Houle said. “Fixing that payment would be an incentive for the city of Brainerd to properly manage that cost, that they, in good faith, reduce costs of premium pay, overtime.”

Commissioner Paul Thiede asked whether, as part of the exploration to reduce costs, more information from the TSA could be gathered in an effort to learn why the grant has decreased.

“Are we getting the right amount and the maximum amount the correct amount of TSA personnel there, doing what they’re doing?” Thiede said. “Or are they spending more money putting TSA personnel on site, with the arrest powers? … Is that why we’re not getting the reimbursement that we once were?”

Houle said if the motion passed, he could pursue answers to those questions. Thiede said he would support the motion, although he noted it was difficult to determine what had been spent and where when it came to the airport.

“This is not a perfect solution to a problem that we’ve been wrestling with for some time,” Thiede said. The resolution passed unanimously.

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or

Egypt enlists British consultancy firm to improve airport security

British tourists at the airport in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh in November (AFP)

A British security consultancy has signed an agreement with Egyptian authorities to address security deficiencies at Egypt’s international airports, as the country tries to restore its status as a popular tourism destination following a bombing aboard a Russian jet last October.

The deal between Control Risks Group and the Egyptian airports holding company was announced as Egypt’s tourism sector reels from a series of disasters, including the 24 October explosion aboard a Russian airbus, and the subsequent cancellation of flights to Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh resort by Russia and the UK.

The initiative will attempt to restore Egypt’s tattered reputation among international visitors, after US, Russian and British authorities all concluded that a bomb on the plane had caused the explosion that killed all 224 people on board and that passengers at the airport were able to pay bribes to bypass luggage security checks.

The deal was signed by the chairman of the Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation, Ismail Abu al-Izz, and Andreas Carleton-Smith, the Middle East and North Africa regional chief executive of the Control Risks Group LLC.

The firm specialises in political, integrity and security risks all over the world, and has 36 international branches. The ministers of civil aviation and tourism, Hossam Kamal and Hisham Zazou, were also present at the high-profile signing. Kamal said that the agreement, first announced in late December, will see the British company provide advice and consultancy to the Egyptian government to enhance security at Egypt’s airports.

Work during the first phase will take place at the country’s three international airports – Cairo, Sharm el-Sheikh and Marsa Alam – and will assess and implement mandatory procedures for personnel training and hardware equipment provision. Kamal said the work will not exceed six months and that the tourism support fund will finance the estimated cost of around $700,000.

Zazou said that the agreement would make a positive impact on the tourist industry in Egypt, which has suffered in recent years.

Since the ousting of former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011, tourism has steadily declined.

The tourism industry lost more than $280mn worth of revenues each month since the explosion, later claimed by the Islamic State group.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, revenues fell by 15 percent to $6.1 billion in the year 2015. One in every 10 Egyptian relies on the industry for their livelihoods, but the number of tourists visiting annually from 2010 to 2015 dropped from 15 million to 9.3 million.

“There was a time when I made a thousand (Egyptian) pounds ($125) a day, said Ibrahim, a camel owner who offers rides to tourists, to AFP. Now I’m lucky if I earn a hundred.”