Israeli airport security experts note that Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has made significant progress in enhancing security since they first evaluated safety measures at the airport two years ago.
The three security experts, from Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, which is widely considered one of the world’s most secure airports, completed a weeklong tour of LAX Friday, November 7th.
Visitors Nahum Liss, Hadas Leviatan and Alon Brown had collaborated with airport and Los Angeles City officials on security planning and strategies at the world’s fifth-busiest airport.
During a visit to Israel earlier this year, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, L.A. City Councilman Jack Weiss and Los Angeles World Airports executive director Gina Marie Lindsey signed a consulting agreement with the security experts that allowed for a peer review analysis of the LAX security plans.
The peer review by the experts included a detailed analysis of current procedures, along with recommendations on how to improve safety and reduce the threat of an attack.
“Terrorism has no boundaries or limits, and in the fight against terrorism we have to cooperate,” said Israeli Consul General Jacob Dayan.
Weiss said the three experts are the “go-to people” who are in charge of security at Ben-Gurion Airport. That airport, which served over ten million passengers last year, has been the target of several terrorist attacks, but no attempt to hijack a plane from Ben-Gurion has been successful.
Weiss noted that the experts’ recent security evaluation of LAX showed many improvements from their first visit.
“They’ve seen significant progress since their first visit two years ago on what LAX is doing and what it is planning to do,” Fifth District Councilman Weiss said at a news conference at LAX November 7th.
The councilman said he coordinated the experts’ first visit with the Israeli Consulate after touring Ben-Gurion and learning that the security officials had not previously conducted an assessment of a U.S. airport.
Other Los Angeles officials praised the collaboration with the Israeli advisors on ways to enhance airport safety.
“Israel is our strategic partner when it comes to security issues,” said City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose 11th District includes LAX.
“I’m thrilled that our LAX security team has this opportunity to talk about our airport security initiatives with the Israeli delegation and demonstrate our growing capabilities. My hope is that this will be an ongoing strategic relationship in the years ahead.”
Councilwoman Janice Hahn added, “We knew that we could learn a lot from the people of Israel regarding both port and airport security.”
Villaraigosa said the collaboration has allowed the city to receive effective homeland security recommendations from some of the top experts in the world.
“Thanks to the hard work and cooperation of Israel’s best minds, the people of Los Angeles can rest easier with the knowledge that our airport is more secure and the gateway to our city is safer than ever before,” the mayor said in a statement.
Lindsey, executive director of the city agency that operates LAX, said the Airport Police Division has increased its visibility over the past two years and officials have worked to ensure that efforts to combat potential threats do not stay “static.”
Among other enhancements implemented are a strengthened perimeter fence and large concrete flower pots that were installed in front of terminals.
Airport deputy director of Law Enforcement and Protection Services James Butts added that airport police have random vehicle checkpoints and they have installed barricades at strategic areas.
“We’re so much further along than when they came here two years ago,” Butts said of the experts’ visit.