FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Harold Jones, Port of Oakland, (510) 627-1564
Cyndy Johnson/Rosemary Barnes, OAK, (510) 563-2820/(510) 563-2892
OAKLAND, Calif., August 12, 2003 - Oakland International Airport (OAK), owned and operated by the Port of Oakland, has secured $11.25 million in grant funding to upgrade the checked baggage security screening system in Terminal Two.
With assistance of this funding, OAK will relocate checked baggage security screening from in front of the Southwest Airlines ticketing area to a new location behind the Terminal Two ticket counters. This will ease congestion by providing travelers with additional room as they wait to check in for flights. Southwest is the only airline operating from Terminal Two.
Additionally, the funding includes construction of facilities to house state-of-the-art Explosives Detection System (EDS) machines, allowing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to process more baggage with less staff. Currently in the Terminal Two lobby, TSA screeners conduct a manual search using Explosives Trace Detection (ETD) machines.
"Moving the checked baggage security screening process will significantly reduce congestion in a facility that was designed to comfortably serve 3.5 million passengers per year," said Director of Aviation Steven J. Grossman. "Southwest currently serves 60 percent of Oakland's passenger traffic or roughly eight million passengers annually."
Airports nationwide applied for this funding and thanks to the efforts of representatives from Southwest Airlines, the Port of Oakland, TSA and local elected officials, OAK travelers will soon benefit from the improvements, Grossman added.
"We have worked hard to make Oakland International Airport a major travel center for the Bay Area and for the West Coast," said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. "This grant ensures that the Airport will not only better meet the increased security demands of the post-9/11 world, but will also better serve its customers as a premiere transportation hub. Working together, we have succeeded in securing these resources," commented Lee.
"The announcement of this $11 million airport security grant awarded to Oakland International Airport is welcome news for the traveling public who want speedier service and enhanced security," said Congressman Pete Stark. "As a frequent user of Oakland International Airport and one who has stood in long security lines post 9/11, I am pleased that this funding will be used to assist the expanding travel population who are using this convenient airport," added Stark.
These baggage security improvements will be designed for seamless integration to the expansion and renovation of Terminal Two, Phase One of the Port of Oakland's Terminal Expansion Program.
The $11.25 million grant is funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Improvement Program, a grant program that provides for capital improvements at airports and is funded through taxes from passenger tickets and aviation fuel.
TSA began screening 100 percent of all checked baggage at all 429 commercial airports in the U.S. on January 1, 2003, using a combination of approved screening methods.
The Port of Oakland is the fourth largest container port in the United States. Established in 1927, the Port oversees some 19 miles of waterfront, including Jack London Square, more than 900 acres of maritime terminal facilities and Oakland International Airport, which served 12.7 million passengers and handled more than 600,000 metric tons of air cargo in 2002.