Exclusive: TSA Investigation Underway After Driver Accidentally Enters Taxiway At Philadelphia International Airport
By Todd Quinones
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is now an investigation underway after sources indicate a security breakdown led to an ordinary driver making his way onto a main taxiway, which is right near a runway.
It’s supposed to be a secure perimeter around Philadelphia International Airport.
You might think only a skilled individual could get access to a taxiway planes use, but you would be wrong.
According to sources, a driver who was lost near the airport managed to drive right through a checkpoint, past a Philadelphia police officer in a patrol car, as well as two department of aviation employees.
The driver, along with a passenger, sources say, drove hundreds of yards down Taxiway J, at one point they even got out of the car completely undetected. It was about 5 minutes before they were even spotted.
“It’s a frightening prospect no doubt about it.” said John Gagliano, a licensed pilot and an aviation attorney, who also flew combat missions for the navy in Afghanistan.
It was about 3:45 a.m. Sunday morning when the driver headed down what’s known the taxiway.
Gagliano showed Eyewitness News the significance of that specific taxiway and why he contends the mishap demonstrates a dangerous breakdown in security.
“It’s a long taxiway that not only gets you close to all the terminals, but also pretty close to [one] runway. It puts lives in danger. It’s someone who is not communicating with any of the pilots,” Gagliano said.
Sources indicate the Philadelphia police officer who didn’t stop the driver will face disciplinary action, and that the gate near cargo city, has since been reconfigured.
The driver and the passenger, Eyewitness News is told were eventually cleared and not charged with any crime. As it appears, the driver was just confused and got lost.
A spokesperson at the airport had no comment citing an ongoing investigation which now involves the TSA.