KCBS Radio/Matt Bigler

After Safety Lapses, San Jose's Airport Gets Help With Security

Matt Bigler
September 19, 2018 - 11:40 am

SAN JOSE — Mineta San Jose International Airport has been chosen by the TSA to test out an array of high-tech perimeter security measures, everything from video cameras and lasers to ground sensors and better fencing. 

The new technology could help SJC avoid the notable security breaches that have dogged it in the recent past. In one episode in 2014, a teenager hopped the airport's fence, climbed into a jet's wheel well and emerged five hours later when the plane landed in Hawaii. Airport officials were hard pressed to explain how it happened.

That incident — along with another high profile security breach that same year involving a serial stowaway sneaking onto a Los Angeles bound flight — prompted the airport to apply to the TSA for extra funding for perimeter security. 

"Regardless of why were were chosen, we're pleased," airport spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes told TV-station KPIX-5.  "When federal money is invested in an airport, what that does is really enhance security and safety. They're going to determine what else we can do here to continue to enhance our program," she said. 

The TSA's security measures are in addition to steps the airport has already taken over the past few years, including installing higher fences and adding more security cameras. 

Air traveler Piyush Bhatia believes SJC needs all the help with its perimeter that it can get. "It's a huge wide perimeter around the whole airport. I'm surprised actually there hasn't been something more," he said. "Any safety measure like that makes traveling a little easier."

The TSA will also test perimeter security at Miami International Airport.

Written by Diana Shook.