Employee Of The Year!


Aug 9, 2004
Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Exactly five years after terrorists got past security at Newark Liberty International Airport, authorities shut down a section of Terminal C yesterday morning when a Continental Airlines employee allowed a relative to bypass a checkpoint, officials said.

The incident began at about 7:40 a.m. when the worker, XXXX, used his airport identification swipe card to open an access door to bring his brother-in-law to a secure gate area, authorities said. The relative then tried to board a flight without a boarding pass, but was stopped by a gate agent, authorities said.

Port Authority police immediately confiscated GXXX's ID card, said Marc La Vorgna, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport.
"It's the most aggressive step we can take," he said.
The breach came on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when terrorists gained access to four commercial planes by passing through security checkpoints at three airports, including Newark. United Airlines Flight 93, en route from Newark to San Francisco, crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pa., after passengers tried to retake the plane from terrorists.
Ann Davis, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, said yesterday's breach delayed eight departing Continental flights after authorities closed part of the terminal at about 9:20 a.m.
Police and bomb-sniffing dogs made a sweep of the area, which was reopened at 10:15 a.m., she said.
After bypassing security, GXXX's brother-in-law, who was not identified, tried to get onto a flight to Orlando, Fla., without a boarding pass, Davis said.
He then "admitted to the gate agent that a relative worked for Continental and escorted him through a Terminal C access door, thereby circumventing the screening process," Davis said. The gate agent immediately notified authorities, she said.
"Every airport and airline employee plays a critical role in maintaining the security of the airport and upholding the regulations designed to prevent another catastrophic event," Davis said. "Helping a traveler circumvent security, on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 of all days, not only violates federal security directives, but brazenly disregards the innumerable strides TSA and its airport and airline partners have made in the last five years."

Davis said Continental faces possible disciplinary action because of the breach.
She described GXXX as a "load planner," who is responsible for ensuring that weight is properly distributed on an aircraft before takeoff. The Port Authority took no action against Gervasio's brother-in-law.
David Messing, a Continental spokesman, said the airline is investigating the incident. He did not release any additional information about Gervasio, including how long he has worked for the airline.
"We have strict procedures that our employees must adhere to," said Messing.
GXXX faces possible disciplinary action "based on the outcome of our investigation," he said.