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USAir failed to detect guns, bombs, FAA says

THE BALTIMORE SUN

WASHINGTON -- FAA reports of violations by USAir, now known as USAirways, show that agents masquerading as passengers were able to smuggle guns, hand grenades and bombs past security guards and their scanners, or send the weapons in through exits.

The documents were given to the New York Times last week in response to a 1996 Freedom of Information Act request.

The Times sought the reports after the FAA announced in November 1996 that it would settle 84 charges against the airline for $450,000, but would give no details on them. The FAA also released documents on safety violations in April 1997. But 73 other alleged violations involved security.

Cathal Flynn, the FAA's associate administrator for civil aviation security, said the violations summarized in the documents were characteristic of those occurring now, and that USAirways' security record was about the same as that of all big airlines.

Pub Date: 1/11/99

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