20 years after 9/11, FWA director reflects on state of airport safety

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Like many others, Scott Hinderman remembers where he was on the morning of Sep. 11, 2001.

More importantly, the executive director at Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) remembers the immediate fallout. On that day the skies turned black, meaning all flights were grounded except for military aircraft. It took days before commercial flights took to the skies again. Once travelers returned, there was an abrupt shift when it came to airport security.

“Even immediately after those first five days, the security was significantly strong,” Hinderman recalled. “To get on that airplane, you probably felt pretty safe because everybody was going through that level of screening.”

Prior to the 9/11 attacks, airport security was handled by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). One of the most notable changes after the attacks was the creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). That led to enhanced screening measures at the airport.

Real ID screening is one of many security measures being implemented at airports by the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA in the years after the 9/11 attacks.

Long-time travelers likely have an idea of what airport security looked like before and after 9/11. Over 20 years, customs like emptying water bottles and taking shoes off at TSA checkpoints became normal. Other security measures like who can and cannot go past TSA checkpoints and advancements in screening technology also come to mind.

While some passengers may complain the added measures have resulted in longer wait times, Hinderman believes the screening process is much more efficient.

“The lines today are not longer,” Hinderman said. “In fact, I think they’re even shorter even though there’s more people travelling than there were pre-9/11.”

20 years later, Hinderman believes the measures made in response to 9/11 were necessary and continue to be critical for passengers who want to feel safe and secure when travelling through the air.

“Time has healed some of those wounds of the attack, and we’ve returned to our normal environment,” Hinderman said. “And then those involved in the security, involved in aviation, they’ve done things to improve all of our safety.”

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