5/1/2010 – Who’s Handing Security At US Airports? It’s Not the TSA At 11 Airports
When the Transportation Security Administration was placed into airports in November 2002 it had the primary goal of unifying airport security procedures throughout the United States. More than seven years later, 11 airports around the United States continue to use private security firms for all airport security functions (although the TSA SF-95 form lists 17 airports not handling TSA related complaints).
Some might glance at the list of airports handled by private security contractors and think “What could possibly happen at Tupelo, MS or Roswell, NM?” Well fact of the matter is that these smaller airports feed larger hubs and international airports. Someone seeking to do harm to the travelling public or make a political statement through a terrorist action can enter the travel stream at any point, not just a major airport…
…but for argument sake, lets say minor airports are inconsequential, which they are not, then why is it that San Francisco International Airport, Kansas City International Airport and the 34th Street Heliport (in Manhattan) also have their security handled entirely by third party security contract firms?
While in my experience the private security screeners at San Francisco International Airport and Kansas City International Airport are just professional and thorough as their counterparts with the TSA at Washington DC’s Reagan National Airport, the fact of the matter is that airport security remains fragmented.
Is there a cost benefit to hiring a 3rd party agency to handle airport screening? I don’t see how it is possible. Is there a benefit to the TSA operating at more then 500 airports, and leave 11 airports in the hands of private contract firms?
Like the TSA or dislike the TSA, the agency isn’t going anywhere. If the agency is to be consistent and focus on protecting airline passengers throughout the nation, they must take responsibility for all the airports in the United States…not every airport except 11 that managed to fall into the hands of private security firms.