Airport traffic increase demands higher security detail

Stephen Atkinson is a busy man.
The airport security and training officer has had to train more commissionaire recruits to keep up with the increasing traffic at the Charlottetown airport.
Flights increase in May when tourism starts up and Atkinson has been busy the last few months preparing for it.
Staffing is pushed to the limit during the summer, so the Corps of Commissionaires required the airport hire four commissionaires, he said.
“In the summer, there are expected higher flight loads, plus extra security responsibility that the runway construction entails.”
Airlines have upped their airplane capacities to support the increased tourism. They’re finding a benefit from the extra capacity airplanes coming in on a daily basis, said Atkinson.
“The airlines will continue to bring in larger aircraft in hope of moving more passengers through the airport.”
Atkinson is in charge of the security pass control office and trains the new staff the corps provides to the airport. New workers must be trained to help passengers and ensure traffic moves safely.
The corps has a mandate to hire people who are ex-military and ex-police, but recently it has been supplying recruits with other backgrounds because of the lack of ex-military candidates on P.E.I., said Atkinson.
“They had to broaden their scope of who they interview and who they hire.”
Peter Kramers has to hire a certain number of ex-military and ex-RCMP to meet the requirements of their federal contract.
He’s the CEO of the N.B. and P.E.I. Corps of Comissionaires.
Hiring them gives them meaningful employment where they are comfortable and get a reasonable wage, he said.
“They are valued at the airport, so it’s a reasonable place to work.”
The corps’s enrollment process includes a record check before training new commissionaires for federal jobs in places like the Jean Canfield Building in Charlottetown.
There are 150 commissionaires on P.E.I. trained according to the regulations of the Canadian General Standards Board, said Kramers.
“We make sure that our trainees understand what we’re all about.”
The airport supervisor and the vice president of operations screen the candidates to make sure they’re suitable, said Atkinson.

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