Nine years ago today aviation security around the world changed … and not necessarily for the better. Nine years ago today the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) took over passenger screening in airports from private security contractors in the United States.
On the 12th of February 2002 airport security in the United States was overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), at the start of business of the 13th of February 2002 airport security became the jurisdiction of the newly formed Transportation Security Administration under the Department of Transportation (DOT).
The transition from the FAA to the TSA was challenging. At Hartford’s Bradley International Airport (BDL) security screening slowed down to a crawl, with screeners having been instructed to hand search bags of passengers before they approached the walk through metal detector and placed their bag on the x-ray belt.
What was viewed as first day teething pains have turned into nine years of troubles for the agency charged with protecting aviation security in the United States.
The costs of airport passenger security in the United States have jumped from US$700,000,000 in 2001 to the TSA budgeting US$5,059,000,000 in 2011 solely for airport passenger screening. With a jump in cost of 722% and a decrease in successful pass-rates during random testing dropping on average by more than 10%, with some reports showing a drop of 20% … nine years ago today was an important day in airport security.
Nine years ago today airport security went from being accountable and held to a higher standard by the FAA to an agency that has been fraught with turmoil, uncertainty, an inability to garner public support or uphold its own ideals.
The TSA will not go away in the future, the TSA will not be dissolved, but hopefully legislators who oversee the TSA will fully review the agency, hold them to a higher standard and require them to adhere to their Mission Statement.