SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The Shreveport City Council has “canceled until further notice” a vote on whether to declare a public emergency in connection with the purchase of four used boarding bridges, also commonly referred to as jetways or jetbridges, at Shreveport Regional Airport.
Wade Davis, director of airports for the Shreveport Airport Authority, recently revealed that inspections of some boarding bridges have not taken place in years.
“One of them was last inspected in 2017. The other one ... . There’s no paperwork on it at all, so there’s no record on that one,” Davis said.
“That’s an essential part in making a decision on whether or not something is safe or an imminent threat to the public. ”
Another boarding bridge was last inspected 11 years ago — in 2009, Davis added.
Two of the bridges were promptly moved from service after the inspection.
“As an airport, I’m willing to say Shreveport Regional took its eye off the ball on this particular issue,” Davis said. “The ultimate person responsible for these by position is the director of airports, the deputy director of airports and the head of maintenance.”
Hundreds of thousands of people pass through these boarding bridges each year at Shreveport Regional.
Davis believes these boarding bridges should be inspected annually, despite no law ensuring these inspections are followed through.
“One of the reasons I think this fell through the cracks is there isn’t a mandatory inspection that needs to be completed on these things,” Davis explained. “Things like an elevator, for example, have annual inspection requirements by law. Ironically, jet bridges do not.”
Going forward, Davis said, it would be airport policy to ensure inspections are occurring.
Accidents involving boarding bridges have occurred in the past at airports throughout the country, resulting in passenger injury and damage to aircraft, according to a CBS News investigation.
“It can injure people, it can injure an aircraft and, obviously, that’s not a situation we want to occur,” Davis said.
If the City Council votes to approve the purchase of the four used boarding bridges, it will cost nearly $950,000. Davis noted that funds are available for the acquisition.
“Safety and security at the airport is paramount, we won’t do anything that risks customer safety or aircraft safety,” Davis emphasized. “That’s why out of an abundance of caution, these were pulled out of service.”