Los Angeles International Airport is safer today than it was on Sept. 11, 2001, but the world’s sixth-busiest airport remains a terrorist target, according to findings released today by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Airport Security.
The panel also found that the Airport Security Advisory Committee does not perform optimally and communication between airport officials and federal agencies is insufficient and ineffective.
As a result of the report, Villaraigosa appointed Arif Alikhan as the new deputy director for Law Enforcement and Homeland Security. Alikhan previously served as Los Angeles’ deputy mayor for Homeland Security and Public Safety, and was most recently Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. News of Alikhan’s appointment was first reported by the Daily Breeze.
“We’re committed to making (LAX) even safer,” Villaraigosa said at a City Hall news conference.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the East Coast, $1.6 billion has been spent on security improvements at Los Angeles International Airport. That work will continue with a new $36 million collaboration between LAX and the Transportation Security Administration to improve the airport’s closed-circuit television systems. TSA will contribute $13.5 million toward that work.
“The safety and security of everyone at LAX is my number one priority. We intend to remain a very safe, secure airport,” said Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports.
Details on LAX’s vulnerabilities and safety priorities were redacted from the commission’s report by federal agencies that reviewed the recommendations.
“We want this to be a blueprint for the good guys, not a blueprint for the bad guys,” Villaraigosa said.
“It’s safe to say we have some work to do to make our city even safer still. We do have some areas that were identified that we’re going to work on to make sure that, as I said, this is the safest airport in its class.”