Audit: Majority of Honolulu airport workers not in compliance with security requirements

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The majority of Honolulu airport's 23,000 employees are not in compliance with security requirements, an audit has found.

A Security Threat Assessment, completed a few weeks ago, was directed by the Transportation Security Administration.

The audit included a review of all workers with badges, which allow them access to secure areas at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

Among the 23,000 employees are airline crews, food handlers, custodians, security personnel and contractors.

"We have been notified by the TSA that there have been some compliance issues," said Timothy Sakahara, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. He said that although he is unable to provide specific numbers since the audit is incomplete, the biggest issue was employees not updating their personal information.

For example, an employee who undergoes a name change must update personal information on file.

When badge names don't match with the names in the system, that could be a red flag.

State senators on the state Transportation Committee say the widespread inconsistencies are a concern.

"Making sure that the information that the state and federal government has is up to date on all the employees, that's very important," said state Sen. Will Espero, vice chair of the committee. He said that name changes are a problem because people on a no-fly list can try to change their names to gain access.

Sakahara said that the thousands of employees found to be "non-compliant" will get a letter notifying them that they have 60 days to fix the issue or they could be denied entrance.  He said this is not considered a security threat, but if workers are denied security clearance they cannot report for duty.

State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, who is also on the Transportation Committee, worries staffing shortages could halt operations.

"Tourism is one of our major economic driving forces here in our state," she said.

The audit was only done at Honolulu's airport, but more assessments could be conducted at other airports throughout the state.

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