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Cablegate: Tsa Completes Inspection of Lagos International

VZCZCXRO7771
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0787 3551213
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211213Z DEC 07
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9654
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA PRIORITY 9398
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA PRIORITY 1338
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 0182
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 0480
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR PRIORITY 0886
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 1309
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS LAGOS 000787

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE PASS FAA TO AHARRIS,
TRANSPORTATION TO FAA; STATE PLEASE PASS TO OPIC; DAKAR
PLEASE PASS TO FAA REP MOIRA KEANE; ROME PLEASE PASS TO TSA
REP JOHN HALINSKI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR EINV PREL NI
SUBJECT: TSA COMPLETES INSPECTION OF LAGOS INTERNATIONAL
AIRPORT


1. (SBU) In conjunction with the commencement of direct
service between Atlanta and Lagos by Delta Airlines,
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials
completed an inspection of aviation security at Lagos'
Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA). The five day inspection
covered all aspects of ground security at the airport,
including perimeter and ramp security, airport policies and
procedures, and passenger and baggage screening. The
inspectors reported they were pleased with the cooperation
they received from the Nigerian authorities.

2. (SBU) Several open items from last year's inspection were
closed; however, the inspectors noted some problems with
access control, perimeter security, and passenger control
measures. These issues were raised directly with the head of
the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. H.O.
Demuren and his staff at an outbrief. Demuren and his staff
were aware of these problems, particular passenger control.
Demuren noted that solving the passenger control issue was
his most vexing problem and would likely require physical
changes to the airport layout. He and the lead inspector
discussed possible solutions and passenger control procedures
in light of the current airport layout. NCAA and the TSA
have a good working relationship and NCAA responded it would
follow up with TSA on all open items.

3. (SBU) As observed by the TSA inspectors, cargo on
passenger flights is screened with x-ray equipment. Demuren
stated that he was working with the World Bank to obtain an
additional x-ray machine to speed up the screening process.
He also remarked that the World Bank may help with a solution
to the problem of passenger control.

4. (SBU) The inspectors noted no major problems with the
security procedures used by North American Airlines (NAA) and
Delta Airlines, the two U.S. carriers that service Lagos.
NAA has been flying to Lagos for over a year and has a strong
security program in place. As expected, Delta's initial
flight had some operational glitches, but the TSA inspectors
believed them to be minor, easily solvable, and within reason
for the first day of operations.

5. (SBU) The NCAA chief of security said the NCAA plans to
formally request assistance from the USG in conducting a Man
Portable Air Defense (MANPADS) threat assessment of MMA
airport. No such assessment of the airport has previously
been conducted. Post will work with NCAA to complete and
forward that request.

6. (SBU) Concurrent with the TSA inspectors, two Federal Air
Marshals completed an initial survey of MMA and established
tentative operational procedures for marshals operating on
flights between the United States and Lagos. A diplomatic
note seeking GON general concurrence for placement of air
marshals on such flights was forwarded to the GON in March of
2006, but the GON has not yet formally replied. Embassy
Abuja and ConGen Lagos have been working with the GON on this
issue and made repeated inquiries into the status of the
reply to the diplomatic note. NCAA officials relayed that
they expected approval soon and the two air marshals were
able to answer questions on training and procedures to the
satisfaction of the NCAA. However, a second diplomatic note
seeking agreement on the specific operational procedures may
be necessary.

7. (U) This cable has been cleared with Embassy Abuja and TSA.
BLAIR

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