Since a TSA inspector told Adolph Sgambelluri in January Guam’s airport could no longer allow the mingling of incoming and outgoing passengers stanchions have divided the Guam International Airport terminal’s concourse (See “TSA orders GIAA to split up airport ” in the “Jan. 10” issue of the Journal).
But Frank F. Blas Sr. chairman of the Guam International Airport Authority said the airport has no written report or instructions that the airport really needs to divide its airport traffic.
In fact he said the airport has spent $74 527.24 on an exercise that may not be strictly necessary. The sum includes night differential and overtime pay for staffing of the concourse for about two and a half months during arrival and departures.
“We could find out later that this was just somebody’s wish ” he told the Journal. “In order for me to commit exorbitant sums of money we need to know why are we doing it.”
Airport passengers at the secure side of the airport intermingled freely until the erection of the stanchions. Blas said “There has not been any official written mandate coming down from TSA saying this is not allowed. We have not been cited or given any public law in terms of a regulation. We’ve been asking for it from Day 1 and saying guide us to where it is and we will download it to our computer. We are following what the local director [Sgambelluri] has said to us.”
Blas said while it awaits further notification from TSA the airport authority had begun its own research on regulations that might require separation of arriving and departing passengers. “We are waiting and researching what public law and federal regulation has them mandating us to do this. We agreed to cooperate and have spent a lot of money in screening the passengers. We really need to know where’s the mandate and what public law is it?”
Blas said funding was also a matter that should be discussed with TSA if the airport had to separate passengers. “There’s a lot of discussion that need to take place with TSA and the airport. The airport management will continue to bring this up. Give us the mandate and show us where the money is to do this. It’s unfair to impose a mandate on a self-generating entity that doesn’t have this in their plans to comply with a mandate without any help whatsoever.”
Meanwhile the airport was not dispensing with the stanchions he said. “We’re complying with the verbal mandate. We’re spending operational money that is not mandated to comply with this directive.”
The authority had gone ahead and researched architectural options in the event those were needed he said (See “Up against the wall ” in the April 18 issue of the Journal.).
“In the meantime it has to be clear we are spending a lot of money on the premise if the mandate comes down we don’t want to be sitting ducks and say we haven’t done anything. If we find out we didn’t have to do it somebody has to answer to that.”
Given the uncertainties Blas said the airport would not be pursuing the possibility of a bond issuance for construction. “We have to justify it and at this point in time that’s not likely in the near future.” MBJ