Los Angeles International Airport Is Home to Nation's First Independent Cargo Screening Facility

Los Angeles International Airport Is Home to Nation's First Independent Cargo Screening Facility

Mercury Air Cargo Will Provide On-Airport TSA-Certified Cargo Screening

LA World Airports

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - February 02, 2009) - Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) announced today that Mercury Air Cargo, a tenant at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), has secured certification from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to be the nation's first Independent Cargo Screening Facility (ICSF) under new TSA air cargo screening guidelines that took effect yesterday, February 1, 2009.

Requirements for screening air cargo carried on wide-body jets has been dramatically strengthened under the Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007, which requires the air cargo industry to screen 50 percent of cargo on wide-body passenger aircraft at a level commensurate with passenger checked baggage by February 1, 2009, and 100 percent screening by August 1, 2010.

"Screening air cargo has been a gaping hole in aviation security for decades," said U.S. Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA 36th District), chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence & Terrorism Risk Assessment. "I congratulate Mercury Air Cargo and TSA for their efforts to improve the safety of countless passengers who fly into and out of LAX. It's exactly this kind of public-private partnership that we need to leverage in order to keep Americans safe. U.S. transportation systems remain an attractive terrorist target, but these new protections greatly reduce the odds of an attack."

Mercury Air Cargo participated in TSA's voluntary Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP) to certify its 200,000-square-foot, on-airport air cargo handling facility on Avion Drive as an ICSF. Mercury has secured screening equipment as well as trained personnel under the TSA's new guidelines. By utilizing its on-airport facility, Mercury will be able to accept unscreened cargo from freight forwarders street side, screen it in a secured environment, and then transport it anywhere on the airport, keeping all operations within the airport's security perimeter.

"As one of the world's busiest cargo airports, LAX needs to be ready to meet these new regulations now and by 2010, when 100 percent of cargo on passenger jets must be screened on the piece level," said LAWA Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey. "Mercury Air Cargo has given airlines at LAX a leg-up in meeting the new TSA air cargo screening requirements."

LAX is the nation's busiest origin and destination airport and ranks eleventh worldwide in tonnage of air cargo handled. Last year, the airport handled 1.8 million tons of arriving and departing freight and mail, nearly 75 percent of the air cargo volume in the five-county Southern California region. Of this total, 310,137 tons (or 17 percent) were loaded onto departing passenger flights.

"Mercury is the longest, continually operating tenant at LAX and with that comes a special understanding of the needs of this airport community and where we can be of service," said Joseph A. Czyzyk, chairman and chief executive officer of Mercury Air Group, Inc., the parent company of Mercury Air Cargo, Inc. "By becoming an independent cargo screening facility, we see a real opportunity to help facilitate cargo screening and especially help out the small- and medium-sized forwarders, who may not be able to afford the costs associated with doing their own in-house screening and/or have the desire to keep up with all of the TSA requirements."

TSA has focused its rollout of the CCSP program on 18 major gateway airport markets in the U.S., including LAX, and is looking to implement a supply-chain-wide solution for meeting the new requirements.

"ICSFs play an important part in helping small- and medium-sized Indirect Air Carriers meet the new requirements. We are pleased that Mercury Air Cargo agreed to participate in the Certified Cargo Screening Program and that they are the first ICSF in the U.S.," said TSA's Air Cargo Division General Manager Ed Kelly.

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