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New TIA security chief hops right in
Gary Milano's first week will be one of the year's busiest.
By KEVIN GRAHAM, Times Staff Writer
Published November 20, 2007
TAMPA - The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority introduced a new federal security director for Tampa International Airport on Monday, just as one of the busiest travel weeks of the year kicked off.
Before taking the post here, Gary Milano, 53, held the top Transportation Security Administration job in Syracuse, N.Y., and six other upstate New York airports. He replaces Dario Compain, who retired.
Milano is facing his first big test: seeing that tens of thousands of passengers leave and arrive safely for their Thanksgiving holiday destinations.
While the Sunday after Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest airline travel day of the year, TIA officials expect at least 70,000 passengers to pass through on Wednesday.
Add to that hundreds of relatives and friends picking up guests, and more than 100,000 people will spend time at TIA on Wednesday, airport director Louis Miller said.
Milano said he has focused this holiday season on emphasizing rules that new and seasoned travelers have already heard.
Last year, the TSA launched an education campaign called 3-1-1 for 3 ounces, one plastic bag per one customer. Those travel preparation tips and other reminders are listed on the TSA's Web site, www.tsa.gov.
TSA officials continue to analyze threats to air travel, including explosive devices in luggage, under people's clothing and in shoes, Milano said.
Any changes to the way the airport operates this holiday season should be minor and relatively unnoticed by the public, he said.
At the peak of holiday travel, wait times to get through security checkpoints can be as long as 25 minutes, airport officials said. On average, it ranges between four and 12 minutes.
Before joining the TSA, Milano spent 15 years with the Justice Department as an assistant U.S. attorney. During that time, he served as criminal division chief for the District of New Hampshire and coordinator of an antiterrorism task force there.
Milano said he and his family fell in love with the Tampa Bay area after visiting for vacation.
Milano also will serve as federal security chief for St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and Sarasota Bradenton International Airport.
-Arrive two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights.
-Print boarding passes from the Internet before arriving at the airport to minimize wait times.
-Remember the 3-1-1 rule for carrying liquids. Pack 3-ounce or smaller containers of liquid, gels and aerosol, placed in a one-quart plastic bag. One bag per passenger. (Larger quantities of liquids and gels are allowed in checked baggage.)
-Be prepared to remove footwear for X-ray screening.
-Have boarding pass and identification out when in line.
-Place undeveloped film in carry-on baggage.
-If you're traveling with early Christmas gifts, do not wrap them.
-Put any loose metal items, like coins, in your carry-on bag.
-Pack your carry-on bag as neatly as possible and layer items. For example, a layer of clothes, then a layer of electronics, then a layer of toiletries.