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Steven Frischling
Live: HVN
Work: JFK-SFO-CDG-HKG
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Fish has been covering aviation and transportation security issues since September 15, 2001, after walking away from Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan following four days of documenting the worst aviation security disaster in history.

Having spent more than a decade-and-a-half as a full-time photojournalist, Fish now divides his time between building social media and social commerce strategies and solutions for global travel brands, along with researching aviation and transportation security.

Growing up at the end up New York's JFK International Airport's Runway 4R/22L probably explains Fish’s enjoyment of watching planes fly overhead. When not working or shooting photos, Fish can be found playing with (and cleaning up after) his three kids, chasing his dogs, standing in the kitchen cooking, monitoring radios public safety and federal radios and of course cheering for the Red Sox.

You can find Fish on Twitter at @flyingwithfish …and … join Fish every Thursday at 3:30pm EST as he hosts the weekly #TNI #Travel Chat on Twitter.

TSA Goes To The London Olympics To Provide No Security

In just over a week the 2012 Olympic Games will commence. London’s busy airports will receive a massive influx of passengers, straining their already strained security checkpoints.

 

Recently it has come to light that G4S security, which provides security at a number of airports in the United Kingdom, including Britain’s global gateway, London’s Heathrow Airport, had only vetted and trained approximately 4,000 security guards for the Olympics, rather than then 10,400 they were contracted to provide.

 

In an effort to ensure security of the Olympics G4S has begun shuffling its staff around, which reduces staffing levels at certain airports. To ensure the airports remain operating at full capacity during this time the British reached out to the U.S. State Department for assistance from the  Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for assistance.

 

The role of the TSA will be focus the prevention of terrorism of flights bound for the United States, working with U.S. airlines and British airlines.  How the TSA assets are to be deployed and their effectiveness leaves some question of their effectiveness though.

 

An  interesting quirk in the TSA’s role in working with U.S. and British carriers only means that flights from the U.K. to the U.S. operated by Air New Zealand and Kuwait Airways will not have a TSA presence during  this time.

 

As there are no specific airport checkpoints for flights to the United States, with them spread among all terminals at London’s Heathrow, TSA personnel will not be staffing check points, instead they will be assigned to the specific gates for flights departing to the United States.

 

What role will the TSA play in the gate areas for flights departing for the United States?  Under the U.S. State Department agreement with the United Kingdom, the TSA personnel will not be able to screen passengers or perform inspections.

 

At this time it is unclear the number of TSA personnel being dispatched to U.K., although they should be spread among a number of airports with direct flights to the United States, and what type of staff are being sent. As of this morning the State Department continues to use the term “Inspector” for TSA personnel headed over to assist, however this seems unlikely due to the limited number of Inspectors and their role within the agency.

 

Ultimately the question at hand is what is the purpose of State Department agreeing to send Transportation Security Administration personnel to the U.K. to assist in airport security during the Olympics?  Will TSA personnel be performing a vital role with an inability to screen passengers or inspect passengers … or is this a political arrangement for the United States to present a wider presence during a global event in a foreign land?

 

Happy Flying!

 

@flyingwithfish

 

4 Responses

  1. Another Munich in the making ?

  2. It basically amounts to a government subsidized vacation for TSA staff at taxpayer expense…

    If they can get away with what they have done before with impunity…why not?

  3. Clever title ^

  4. […] and the TSA wanted a piece of it … capitalizing on serious problems in Olympic Security staffing, the TSA sent staff to England to be present in airports but provide no security.  All these months later I still have no idea why the agent sent personnel to England, and neither […]

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