Despite some calls for heightened security at airports across the United States, few noticeable changes are likely in Tallahassee in the wake of the terrorist bombing at Istanbul’s airport. While the Department of Homeland Security says it is studying the issue for airports across the nation, Tallahassee’s Director of Aviation says not to expect any obvious changes.
“No special adjustments need to be made. We’ve maintained a high state of awareness over the past few years,” said Chris Curry, Director of Aviation at the Tallahassee International Airport.
But Curry acknowledged that the focus has shifted away from the airplanes themselves, adding that “terrorists have chosen to use airports as their settings to deliver these attacks.”
Henry Willis, a homeland security and defense expert, says “When you create a secure area, you actually create another vulnerability,” according to a statement he provided to BuzzFeed news. Willis is talking about the vulnerable areas outside of the security checkpoint, such as food courts, rental car areas, and passenger drop off areas. In a smaller airport like Tallahassee, people usually gather in two areas: the ticketing check-in counters and the baggage claim area.
On Tuesday night at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport in Turkey, attackers walked in the front doors and began firing automatic weapons at travelers before detonating explosives strapped to their bodies.
Following the attacks, some airports in the United States increased security measures and beefed up security personnel, especially at higher volume airports like Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and San Francisco International.
For Tallahassee International Airport, this kind of event is something that security airport officials train for year round, but because of the lower passenger volume, the capital city’s small terminal is less likely to become a target. In fact, the most recent airport targeted in a domestic terror act was during a shooting at the Los Angeles International Airport in 2013, when a man shot three TSA officers, and killing one.
Dennis Ragosta and Brian Burgess contributed to this report.