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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 3:13 p.m., Thursday, August 10, 2006

National Guard may be tapped to help at airports

Video: Increased security measures at Honolulu International Airport

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Aileen Chun of Honolulu, repacked her carry-ons into her suitcase at Honolulu International Airport after throwing out her water bottle and iced-tea, following new air travel rules due to the heightened security measures. Lionel Tashiro helps out at left. Both are headed to Alaska for a tour.

Photos by GREG YAMAMOTO | The Honolulu Advertiser

Departing passengers head toward the security gates at Honolulu International Airport past signs that outline new air travel rules due to the heightened security measures.

State and federal officials today said they don't know how long airline passengers in Hawai'i will face increased scrutiny and may ask National Guard troops to help screen passengers at new security check points that created long lines today.

Passengers will face the same kinds of delays for the foreseeable future as Hawai'i's airports join a stepped-up security crackdown across the country to keep out fluids and gel-like substances from airline cabins following a foiled terrorism bombing plot in London.

At a press conference at Honolulu International Airport this afternoon, Maj. Gen. Robert G.F. Lee, head of the state Department of Defense, said Hawai'i's airports did not "see the mass confusion here like you saw at Mainland airports."

A decision on whether National Guard troops will be needed to help with additional security will be made tonight, Lee said.

State and federal and tourism officials praised one another for turning what could have been a difficult situation into a generally smooth response.

Lee was told at 6:30 p.m. last night to be available at 7 p.m. for a conference call with federal Homeland Security officials about the foiled bombing plot. At 8 p.m., he spoke to Hawai'i security, transportation and tourism officials who developed a response that included alerting Hawai'i's hotel industry to let departing guests know about the new prohibited items and the need to arrive at airports at least an hour earlier than usual.