High alert

LIHUE — There may be some increased security at the Lihue Airport in the wake of the Tuesday attacks at Brussels International Airport and the Belgian city’s metro station.

Timothy Sakahara, Hawaii Department of Transportation spokesman, said the Lihue Airport could see stronger security measures if they are mandated by federal agencies.

“Passenger safety is the top priority, and as a precaution travelers in Hawaii may notice an increase in security,” Sakahara said. “However, we cannot divulge the specifics on those measures.”

But the Lihue Airport was business as usual on Tuesday at around noon when Elke Hoergl arrived on Kauai from Vienna, Austria, via Honolulu.

“There wasn’t anything unusual and the whole trip went smoothly,” Hoergl said.

She said she hadn’t heard much about the blasts that shook Brussels International Airport and the Belgian metro station Tuesday morning. But she was catching up on the news over a map of Kauai and lunch at The Greenery Café in Lihue with her friend, Doris Masser, also from Vienna.

“It makes you tense, when you think about that kind of thing happening and you know so many people who are travelers,” said Masser, who arrived on-island over the weekend. “It’s such a tragedy.”

The pair plans to return to Europe on Sunday, and both are feeling optimistic about their flight home.

“I’m not too worried,” Hoergl said, “Things will probably calm down a bit before we leave.”

Sakahara said here shouldn’t be “a noticeable difference or additional time added as a result of any extra security precautions that have been implemented due to the Belgium attacks” at the Lihue Airport.

The bombings, condemned by United Nations as terrorist attacks and claimed by the Islamic State Tuesday, killed at least 34 people and wounded hundreds.

It’s triggering increased security measures worldwide, but Lihue won’t be feeling the same pressures as the major hub cities in the United States.

“Our security guards and law enforcement officers remain focused and vigilant,” Sakahara said.

In a Tuesday news release, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, said there is “no specific, credible intelligence of any plot to conduct similar attacks here in the United States.”

He said, though, the department isn’t ruling out “lone terrorist actors” or “radicalized individuals or small groups who could carry out an attack in the Homeland with little warning.”

As a precautionary measure, Johnson said the Transportation Security Administration is deploying additional security to major U.S. airports, as well as various rail and transit stations around the country.


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