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Summer travel and security increase at Syracuse's Hancock International Airport

Payne Horning
WRVO News (file photo)

Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport is prepared for the crowds headed out of town as the summer traveling season hits high gear. There are ways to make things go smoother.

Executive Director Jason Terreri said airport traffic is about 90% of what it was in 2019, a record-breaking year. And many people are leaving at the same time of day.

"The first group of flights is our busiest period," Terreri said. "Roughly 30% of passengers are flying out before seven a.m., meaning we have roughly a thousand going out before six a.m."

Following the TSA rules, especially about what items can go in a carry-on, is one of the best ways to keep the security lines moving. Transportation Safety Administration Security Director for Upstate New York, Bart Johnson, stood in front of hundreds of non-compliant items plucked out of bags by TSA agents, ranging from snow globes to cans of beer.

"This is three days, about 7 thousand passengers, do the math, that’s about 10% of all bags coming through are being looked at by them unnecessarily," Johnson said.

Bart Johnson, TSA Director for Upstate NY, stands in front of hundreds of items confiscated by TSA agents
Ellen Abbott
Bart Johnson, TSA Director for Upstate NY, stands in front of hundreds of items confiscated by TSA agents

One thing that may speed things up in the security line are new state-of-the-art advanced technology scanners installed in Syracuse. Terreri said the computer scanners installed at the airport should help the security line move more quickly.

“It is helping with the screening process where you don’t have to do so many hand searches of bags," Terreri said. "So it takes the officer, instead of having to pull a bag, go to a table, search it, these machines actually have a lot better insight looking into the bags to see what’s there.”

As for stories of recent flight delays and cancellations across the country, Terreri says it’s not a big problem in Central New York.

"Every airline is dealing with this pilot shortage and some of the equipment issues right now," Terreri said. "And we are seeing some of that, but not at the extent of other airports."

Terreri recommends that travelers are inside the airport terminal at least 90 minutes before their scheduled flight.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.