Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Airport security switches to new firm


Huntleigh replaces Argenbright next week

By James Pilcher jpilcher@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The troubled firm handling most passenger screening services at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport will be relieved of its duties by April 22.

        Officials from Huntleigh USA on Monday confirmed that the St. Louis-based company will take over all security screening duties at the airport from Atlanta-based Argenbright Security.

        Huntleigh USA spokeswoman Jessica Neal said her company would probably hire some of Argenbright's 300 or so local workers to augment its own force of about 45 screeners. She said any new employees would be retrained to tougher standards and that the transition process will begin April 15 and is required to be finished by April 22.

        Before last fall's passage of a new law requiring federal takeover of the screening process by Nov. 15, Hun tleigh contracted with Northwest Airlines to handle security at Terminal 1. Argenbright handled Terminals 2 and 3 through contracts with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, respectively.

        Huntleigh will contract directly with the federal security administration until enough federal workers are in place, but Ms. Neal would not disclose details of the deal.

        Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta announced this year that the federal government would not contract with Argenbright.

        Argenbright was previously found to have hired convicted felons, failed several security tests and didn't conduct proper background checks at other airports, including Chicago.

        It was allowed to stay in place temporarily, but its contracts are expiring this month.

       



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