An airport worker with an airside pass at Philadelphia International Airport has been terminated from his job after he was caught with a loaded gun while passing through a TSA security checkpoint while on his way to work at an unnamed retail concession.
The man claimed he had been at a shooting range and had forgotten that his gun was still in his bag. The 9mm handgun was loaded with nine bullets, including one in the chamber.
TSA agents quickly identified the handgun in the worker’s bag and he was cited by local police. He also had his airside pass revoked, meaning that he is unable to work at the airport.
The TSA’s Federal Security Director for Philadelphia Airport, Gerardo Spero said the man posed a “possible insider threat” – someone who works within an organization and who poses a threat to safety or security.
So far this year, the TSA has detected 26 handguns at checkpoints within Philadelphia Airport. Last year, the security agency stopped 44 guns from being brought through checkpoints at the airport – a massive increase on pre-pandemic levels when only 20 handguns were detected in 2019.
The rise can be attributed to two main reasons: the first is that people have seemingly forgotten that they can’t bring their handgun in the cabin of a plane and the second is that the TSA is actually getting better at detecting prohibited items.
But it’s not just airline passengers who keep on forgetting that they have packed a gun in their luggage. Earlier this week, another airport worker was stopped by the TSA at Norfolk International Airport with a loaded gun in his bag.
In this case, the airline employee claimed he forgot the 22 caliber gun with 18 bullets was in his bag. Again, the man’s airside pass was confiscated.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.