88ºF

Orlando Airport officials plan safety improvements after TSA worker's suicide

Greater Orlando Aviation Authority unanimously votes for improvements at Hyatt

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority unanimously voted Wednesday to spend $359,000 of unbudgeted funds to improve safety and security concerns at the Hyatt Regency hotel within the airport, where a TSA agent jumped to his death off of a balcony in February

TSA agent Robert Henry, 36, who was off-duty at the time of his death, had been employed as a TSA agent since 2006.  

According to Deborah Hanna, president of the Local 556, the union representing the TSA agents, it was easy for agents to access the higher levels of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The hotel sits right above the security checkpoint where TSA Agents work. 

"I mean look around, it's easy enough," Hanna said Wednesday. "We used to go up there for meeting or whatever or just the 10th we used for something else, we would just go up there and sit up there if we wanted to."

[RELATED: Delays from apparent suicide strand travelers at Orlando International AirportApparent suicide at Orlando International Airport causes nearly 100 flight cancellations | TSA agent commits suicide after jumping from balcony at OIA, police say]

However, since her colleague's death, she hasn't been back up there. 

"I haven't been back up there, so I don't know what's going on," Hanna said. "It's harder for some than others."

GOAA CEO Phil Brown would not say what the safety and security improvements will be, just admitting they are needed. 

"You realize that obviously there are things we could do better," Brown said after the meeting. "We want to make sure that all of the guests and passengers are fully protected and obviously there was a breach there and it's always possible. So we are trying to make improvements to guard against that."


About the Author: