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Security Changes for US Airports

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (T.S.A.) announced it is easing restrictions on the items passengers could carry onto airplanes. VOA's Jim Bertel reports the agency hopes the new rules will make it easier and safer to fly.

Screwdrivers, wrenches, even sharp scissors. Since the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks when the airplane hijackers were armed with box cutters, airline passengers have been prohibited from carrying any of these items onto planes. No more. The T.S.A., which is responsible for airport security, is going to once again allow passengers to bring small, sharp objects onto planes in their carry-on luggage.

Right now airport screeners open one out of every four bags to remove banned items. The T.S.A. believes the new procedures will speed up security and allow airport screeners to focus on more serious threats such as explosives. Other changes include a new random search of passengers that will vary from airport to airport to keep any would-be terrorists off guard.

Jim May, president of the Air Transport Association says, "The T.S.A. continues to improve their systems, redeploy their assests to where they're most needed. I think that's very helpful, very positive."

Reaction to the changes among airline passengers is mixed.

One traveler says, "I think that it's long overdue. It's a little ridiculous. I do not think that anybody will harm anybody with a nail file or things like that."

Another shared her remarks, "I don't think it is a good idea due to the fact 9/11 and everything going on there, you know."

Some flight attendants, pilots and families of 9/11 victims are wary of the changes.

Carie LeMack lost her mother in the 9/11 attack. "Well, I think they should be looking for explosive devices. I think that's a great idea. However, you don't do it at the cost of conventional weapons.

Experts say with federal air marshals on planes, bulletproof cockpit doors, and other changes the threat of terrorists taking over an airplane has dropped significantly since the 9/11 attack.