TSA establishes permanent screening operations at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport

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National Press Release
Monday, March 27, 2006

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced today that it has established a screening presence at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport at Wall Street. This operation represents the first time since TSA’s inception that it has assigned screening personnel and equipment to a heliport facility.

“These dedicated resources will ensure that passengers and baggage entering Manhattan's airspace on commercial helicopter flights to New York-area airports have satisfied TSA's stringent screening requirements,” said Douglas Hofsass, TSA Federal Security Director at LaGuardia Airport. Hofsass’ responsibilities now include oversight of security operations at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport.  

When U.S. Helicopter begins regularly scheduled commercial airport shuttle service from Manhattan to John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport on March 27, a team of TSA Transportation Security Officers (TSOs), using TSA-certified X-Ray, Magnetometer, and Explosives Trace Detection (ETD) security equipment, will be ensuring that all U.S. Helicopter passengers, their accessible property and checked baggage are thoroughly screened for explosives and other dangerous items prior to departure. The same TSA regulations enforcd at commercial airports prohibiting certain items from checked and/or carry-on baggage will be applicable to all U.S. Helicopter commercial passengers.  

Working with the heliport’s operator, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, TSA has enacted a Heliport Security Plan (HSP), which will ensure that the Wall Street facility adheres to all of TSA’s regulatory requirements and applicable Security Directives. Construction modifications at the heliport have created a “sterile area” that will physically separate screened individuals and their baggage from non-screened individuals.  

Having already satisfied TSA's passenger and baggage screening requirements at the heliport, U.S. Helicopter passengers and baggage departing the Downtown Manhattan Heliport will be able to connect to commercial flights within the sterile areas at JFK Airport. Future plans include additional commercial helicopter flights from the heliport to Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia Airports operating under the same sterile to sterile concept.

For more information on TSA and a list of items prohibited from checked and carry-on baggage, please visit our website at www.tsa.gov.