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Cablegate: Nicaragua: Civil Aviation Update - December 2007

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #2618/01 3542125
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 202125Z DEC 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1843
INFO RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE
RHMCSUU/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/TSA HQ WASHINGTON DC
RUEAYVF/FAA MIAMI ARTCC MIAMI FL

UNCLAS MANAGUA 002618

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CEN, WHA/EPSC, AND EEB/TRA
FAA MIAMI FOR TSAR VGUARDIA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR EINV ETRD PGOV NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA: CIVIL AVIATION UPDATE - DECEMBER 2007

REF: MANAGUA 983

1. (SBU) This cable contains an action request. Please see
paragraph 6.

2. (SBU) Summary: As a follow-up to an October 10-15 Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) inspection, the Embassy hosted a
roundtable with airline representatives on December 5. While the
TSA inspection was successful overall, thes5*2%fon over liquid, aerosol and
gas (LAG) screening. Since TSA's visit, airlines undertake to
screen 100% of all luggage and passengers they carry. On December
5, airline representatives stated that they were able to reach an
agreement with airport administrators on billing issues. They are
concerned, however, about an increase in luggage pilfering and the
performance of overworked security guards supplied by the Nicaraguan
army. End Summary.

TSA Inspection Mostly Positive
------------------------------

3. (SBU) A TSA team conducted a full inspection of Managua's
international airport, both passenger and cargo operations, from
October 10-14. During their inspection, they met frequently with
the Nicaraguan airport administration authority (EAAI), the
Nicaraguan Civil Aviation Institute (INAC), and airline
representatives. The TSA team reported mostly good cooperation from
the Nicaraguan authorities, although protocol, procedure, and notice
requirements were tighter than in previous visits.

4. (SBU) TSA inspectors felt the visit and assessment went well, and
set the groundwork for a new relationship with the new airport
administration. The military commander of airport security was open
and responsive, sharing all operational documents requested by TSA.
Security contingency plans met ICAO standards. In the general
aviation area, controls were in place with properly issued airport
identification badges and background checks.

5. (SBU) TSA pointed out four areas for improvement. (1) Security
and safety audits, tests, surveys and inspections need to be
documented when conducted. (2) Of sixteen functional airport
surveillance cameras operated by the police, nine cameras needed
repair or replacement. (3) The airport grass is too tall, blocking
perimeter surveillance. (4) A squatter camp is situated next to one
of the perimeter walls, making it easy for the wall to be climbed.
EAAI promised the grass would be cut and the squatters removed.

6. (SBU) Separately, a TSA team member recommended TSA instruction
on basic, aviation, and cargo security, survey, inspection and
testing techniques, as well as instructor training for INAC,
airport, and aviation security personnel. TSA instructors are
available to provide on-site training, but funding may have to come
from other agency or institutional sponsors. Action request: Post
requests Department assistance in procuring such funding.

7. (SBU) TSA also inspected air carriers flying into the United
States. American Airlines, American Airlines Cargo, and TACA fully
complied with all requirements. Continental Airlines and Delta
Airlines had a few minor, unspecified issues. Spirit Airlines had
to implement some small procedural changes. UPS Cargo had some
paperwork issues.

Liquids, Aerosols and Gels (LAG)
--------------------------------

8. (SBU) During the inspection, the airport and airlines experienced
some confusion regarding LAG passenger screening. Just prior to
TSA's inspection, the`\v[2Y%mX]s.,BQ

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