A passenger pier was evacuated and flights were delayed for hundreds of people yesterday after the latest in a series of security breaches at Baltimore-Washington International Airport - and a problem disrupting the routine at airports across the nation since the terrorist attacks Sept. 11.
The problem occurred at BWI's Pier D - the USAirways terminal - after a security screener noticed a suspicious image on an X-ray scanner at a checkpoint for carry-on items, a spokesman for the airline said.
But the passenger had picked up the item and walked into the pier, disappearing into the crowd by the time police had been alerted.
"A security screener noticed an image on the screen and wanted to check into it further," said USAirways spokesman Richard Weintraub.
The result was the closing of Pier D for two hours so that about 300 passengers who had passed through the security checkpoint could be re-examined by security personnel.
"At this point the procedure is to recheck all bags because you don't know which bags you've checked already," Weintraub said.
The spokesman would not identify the suspicious item that prompted the pier's temporary shutdown.
Departures of six flights were delayed, Weintraub said.
On Saturday morning, a security breach at Delta Airlines' Pier C checkpoint caused about a seven-hour closure, a spokeswoman for the airline said yesterday, declining to elaborate on the incident.
And the evening of Dec. 11, an incident at Southwest Airlines' Pier B shut down the concourse for about an hour.
"A customer, after they passed through the metal detector, was asked to step aside to be wanded," said Christine Turneabe Connelly, a Southwest Airlines spokeswoman. "The customer didn't stop - but it could be something as simple as they didn't hear the request."
As a matter of procedure, Connelly said, the terminal was closed and the pier cleared.
In another incident yesterday, North Carolina's Charlotte-Douglas International Airport was shut down for an hour after security workers discovered that passengers had cleared a checkpoint where a metal detector was unplugged.