April 23rd, 2014
12:46 PM ET

Expert Highlights 4 Potential Security Weak Points at San Jose Intl. Airport

The 15-year-old boy who stowed away on a flight from California to Hawaii in the wheel well of a 767 didn't just breach security by climbing into the plane, he also jumped the fence at San Jose International Airport and stayed on the ground for more than six hours without getting caught.

On "New Day" Wednesday morning, CNN Aviation Analyst Michael Kay walked through potential weak points with San Jose International's airport security plan:

#1) IS THE BARBED-WIRE FENCING HIGH ENOUGH? 

Fencing is usually the first layer of defense in airport runway security, according to Kay.

At San Jose airport, there is six miles of fencing that reaches six feet tall, but "if someone really wants to get over that fence, it’s not inconceivable that they could have."

#2) SHOULD SOMEONE IN THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TOWER HAVE SEEN HIM?

Kay considers air traffic control towers the second layer of airport defense.

According to reports, the boy got onto the airport around 2 a.m. However, the tower at San Jose airport is only open until midnight – when no controllers were in the tower.

control tower

#3) IS THERE ENOUGH MONITORING OF SECURITY CAMERAS?

There are 200 cameras at San Jose airport, but officials do not have video of the stowaway getting over the fence – just video of a person they believe is the boy walking on the tarmac.

Kay believes the airport should put a higher priority on closed circuit camera monitoring, but adds, "there will always be some sort of blind spot. You’re never really going to eliminate everything."

#4) IS EVERYONE ON THE GROUND PAYING ENOUGH ATTENTION?

Just as the eyes in the sky should be vigilant,  people on the ground such as caterers, baggage handlers and pilots, who already check the plane before takeoff, also need to be alert for security breaches.

While they may already be aware, "maybe the procedures and protocols need to be a little bit better," Kay said.

eyes

See MORE about the security at San Jose International Airport on CNN.com and watch the clip above to see Kay's full breakdown.

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  1. Vanessa Nix Anthony

    You need to be asking the right questions about this - like WHO is normally allowed on the tarmac? There's a reason why someone might not have questioned him being there. Not sure if this is true for San Jose (but you should find out) but some airports, even post 9/11 allowed workers behind the scenes access at the airports (including walking right across the tarmac.) This includes everyone from coffee shops and fast food workers to book stores and retail shops, dressed in regular attire. All airport employees do undergo FBI background checks but no one knows who is supposed to be on that tarmac or not, especially, if you don't work for the TSA or security. They probably just thought this kid was one of the teens working in one of the shops on his way to a different concourse.

    April 28, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Reply

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