Tuesday, August 6
Measures mean logistical problems for sports teams

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- New airport security measures for charter flights could create delays for pro leagues, which hope to work out a compromise on the issue.

The stricter screening of passengers and luggage applied to commercial flights after Sept. 11 begins later this month for charters.

Sports teams are accustomed to moving quickly from team buses to charter planes without passing through the same security checkpoints as commercial travelers.

The new rules could create major logistical problems, especially with the amount of equipment -- helmets, pads, bats, etc. -- moved from city to city.

John McHale, Jr., executive vice president at major league baseball, said the commissioner's office had reviewed the regulations, which take effect Aug. 19. He said the rule will apply to virtually all major league baseball charter flights.

''Because of how and when we travel, that presented some pretty daunting issues,'' he said Tuesday.

McHale said baseball would talk with the Transportation Security Administration to seek some adjustment to the rules so that baseball charters would be treated more like private aircraft than a typical charter.

''They've been reasonable and accommodating and interested in what we have to do,'' he said. ''I'm hopeful we can reach an accommodation that doesn't add an extra hour and extra cost to every flight segment each major league team takes during the season.''

Jeff Pash, the NFL's in-house lawyer, wrote to the Department of Transportation to ask that the security screening take place in private areas, not in the public area of the airports.

Pash's letter explained that NFL teams travel in parties of 90-to-170 people or more.

''We believe the disruption caused by requiring teams to go through airport terminals would result in significant public safety and security problems and would be a serious inconvenience for the general traveling public,'' Pash wrote.

After last year's terrorist attacks, NFL teams were screened by security personnel supplied by the airline on which they traveled.

Bill Daly, executive vice president and chief legal officer of the NHL, said the league told the TSA about its concerns and wanted to work out a compromise.

He said NHL teams have ''special needs'' because they ''engage in a very high volume of travel -- often with very tight time constraints.''

David Zenenberg, the NBA's vice president of legal and business affairs, said the league want to fully cooperate with the TSA.

''Our goal is to provide them with as much information as we can and help them understand the unique aspects of our travel to help achieve the TSA's goal of increased security in air travel,'' he said.