New Terminal at John Wayne Airport Fails Security Certification

The Terminal did not meet all of TSA’s specifications for baggage handling and screening

By Scott Weber
| Tuesday, Nov 15, 2011 | Updated 1:01 PM PST

New John Wayne Airport Terminal Fails Test
John Wayne Airport

Contractors at John Wayne Airport are scrambling to fix a baggage screening system in the airport’s newly opened Terminal C after it failed to get federal certification.
The $120 million Terminal, which opened to the public Monday, did not meet all of the Transportation Security Administration’s specifications for baggage handling and screening, according to JWA spokeswoman Jenny Wedge.
“We’re not doing baggage handling, checking, and picking up in Terminal C yet,” Wedge said. “Everybody that needs to check bags or pick up their bags that are on Southwest or Frontier, they still need to come to Terminal B.”
Airport officials dedicated the facilities during a ceremony Sunday but didn’t say that the system had failed inspection. Wedge said the airport didn’t ask for the certification until late last week, and that’s when they learned the system didn’t meet TSA’s requirements.
Airport officials estimate a fix could come in the next couple of weeks.
“We’re working as hard as we can to get it done sooner,” Wedge said. “Next week is Thanksgiving. It’s a busy time of year.”
Travelers who are not checking bags can still go to Terminal C, use self-serve kiosks, and go through security.
“There’s some signage trying to direct passengers,” Wedge said. “But overall, we have a lot of staff out making sure they get to where they need to go.”
Terminal C is part of a $543 million Airport Improvement Program, funded without the use of tax dollars. It includes six new bridged aircraft gates, two new commuter terminals, more security checkpoints and new dining and shopping options.
Southwest Airlines announced Sunday that it intends to fly between Orange County and Mexico City, and to Cabo San Lucas, which will be the first use of the project’s international facilities.

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