The video shows him bypassing security and getting on a flight. We’ve found city of Cleveland officials have been caught doing the same thing, but they have not been fired.
Security video captured the local general manager for American Airlines walking through the airport. Multiple sources told the I-Team he got fired for going through a security door and getting on his flight without going through screening at an airport checkpoint.
That same airline manager was also accused of having someone bypass security to bring him a charger for a laptop.
Later, Juan Restrepo wrote in an email, “I made a terrible mistake and deeply regret my actions.”
American Airlines released a statement to the I-Team, saying, “At American, we have an unwavering commitment to the safety and security of our customers and team members and we took this matter very seriously. This individual no longer works for American Airlines.”
Travelers we met at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on Wednesday reacted to our findings showing the airline official bypassing security.
“He’s supposed to be setting an example for us and helping us understand the importance of doing that,” one man said.
“Just because you work at the airline doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have to go through security. I think everyone needs to,” a woman said.
At times, even city officials have been caught violating security at Hopkins.
The I-Team obtained video from 2019. An investigation found a deputy commissioner for the airport “improperly escorted” a relative through a secure area.
In 2018, an airport executive helped another city government executive bypass security.
They each got suspended, not fired. We’ve learned some of those decisions on the punishments involved the top levels of city hall.
All of these cases also get referred to the Transportation Security Administration for review.
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