FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cyndy Johnson, (510) 563-2820
Rosemary Barnes, (510) 563-2892
After Hours, (510) 563-3360
Oakland, CA, February 13, 2003 – Law enforcement officials will conduct random vehicle searches at Oakland International Airport beginning immediately. The searches, which will occur along the airport’s inbound roadway, are in response to the heightened terror alert (Orange Threat Level) and a new security directive for airports. There has not been any specific threat targeting Oakland International Airport.
Vehicles will be checked for explosives and other suspicious materials as they approach the terminal buildings. A routine stop is expected to last no more than 90 seconds. Law enforcement officials may ask to inspect vehicle trunks and backs of vans. Motorists may refuse to have their vehicles searched, however, they will be prohibited from using the roadway leading to the terminals. Inspections are expected to last indefinitely.
Other mandated security changes include the elimination of taxi staging at the terminal building first curb. Taxis will be called forward from a remote staging area on an as-needed basis. Taxis picking up passengers at the first curb and all other ground transportation vehicles using the second curb (AC Transit and AirBART buses) and third curb (hotel/motel and off-site rental car agency shuttles) will be inspected with the use of extension mirrors.
“Traveler safety and security is our number one priority,” said Steven J. Grossman, director of aviation for the Port of Oakland, which operates the Port. “Airport staff is working cooperatively with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and local law enforcement officials and we ask travelers to work cooperatively with us as we implement these increased security measures on their behalf.”
Travelers may also notice an increased presence of law enforcement officials while the airport remains at a heightened level of security.
Passengers traveling through Oakland International Airport are reminded to arrive at the airport 90 minutes prior to departure time for domestic flights and two to three hours prior for international flights. In addition, all passengers are now required to obtain a boarding pass prior to passenger security screening. Passengers should check with their airline for more information.
Bucking national trends, passenger traffic at Oakland International Airport had double-digit growth in 2002, up 11.5 percent over the previous year to 12,723,777 passengers, despite the continuing weak economy and a severe downturn in the aviation industry financial picture. This was the first time in the airport’s 75-year history that it averaged a million passengers a month.
Oakland International Airport has over 200 flights a day on 14 domestic and international carriers to 38 nonstop destinations, including Atlanta, New York, Washington, D.C., the Hawaiian Islands and Mexico. The airport is a revenue division of the Port of Oakland, an independent department of the city of Oakland. For information on alternative transportation to/from the airport, call 1-888-IFLYOAK (435-9625). Once at the airport, motorists can tune to 1700 AM for current airport information. Visit www.oaklandairport.com for additional information.