The federal government says the timing is coincidental, but it is giving $5.3 million to Salt Lake International Airport to help beef up security.
The announcement of the Federal Aviation Administration grant to install a computerized access system to enhance airport safety was made Wednesday by Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah.Airport director Louis E. Miller said the system will use coded cards to limit the number of employees and the time they spend in restricted areas of the airport. Currently the system has no time restrictions and employees knowing access numbers and wearing badges can enter any airport area.
The system must be in place by 1992 to meet new FAA guidelines, Miller said, noting the airport is working with a consultant designing the system.
Miller and FAA spokeswoman Shane Schreifer said plans for an updated security system at Salt Lake International have been in place for two years and the grant was approved before war broke out in the Persian Gulf.
"The timing is just coincidental" with the recent tightening of security at airports across the country, Schreifer said.