Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport was partially shut down Monday morning for a couple of hours while police officers checked out an unattended package. Airport officials only declared that an item was being investigated after two security checkpoints closed. The first one to close was the C checkpoint in Terminal 4, the airport’s busiest with more than 80 percent of passengers. The B checkpoint closed shortly after 9 a.m.
Home to American and Southwest Airlines, the terminal returned to normal operations at 11 a.m. local time (1 p.m. ET). The other two checkpoints near the A and D gates were not affected by the security issue, and travelers were bused to them and asked to be patient in case their flights were delayed as a consequence of the incident. As a precaution, the Sky Train shuttle was also closed, and passengers were taken by bus to and from Sky Harbor.
The airport said it worked with airlines and Southwest was the only one who agreed to hold its flights until the investigation was completed, as reported by Ktar News. Southwest Airlines said a passenger who had a suspicious carry-on luggage board was interviewed by police officers, according to ABC15. Both police and airport officials declined to offer comments about the content of the suspicious package.
On the busy travel day, travelers took on social media to offer updates and post complaints and questions on the security problem and long lines. Niki Loheit, who was returning home to Los Angeles on Southwest Airlines after attending a wedding in Phoenix, told USA Today that the lines at the A and D checkpoints were moving pretty fast although they were indeed longer than they usually were. She added that she had seen worse.
About Phoenix Sky Harbor
Located 3 miles southeast of downtown Phoenix, Arizona, the civil-military public airport is Arizona’s largest and busiest airport and also among America’s largest commercial airports. It figured last year as the 11th busiest airport in the country, according to Airports Council International – North America.
Also, 29th in the global list, it had a 4.5 percent increase over the previous year as it served more than 44 million passengers, compared to 20 million in 2012, according to records from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). More than 1,200 aircraft operations are handled every day at Sky Harbor, as well as 100,000 passengers and over 800 tons of cargo.
The airport is American Airlines’ sixth-largest hub as it handles nearly 300 daily departures to 76 destinations in 4 countries. As of last month, the airport’s largest carrier carried almost half of all its passengers (23,000) through Sky Harbor. As for Southwest Airlines, the airport serves 179 daily departures to 50 cities.
Source: USA Today