Atlanta TSA could soon be nixxed

Source: Charles Bailey, Georgia State Signal, March 21, 2016

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is in danger of losing its contract with Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (HJIA), according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Words like “privatization” are being thrown around now because passenger wait times at security checkpoints are too long — lines at 6 a.m. were found to take nearly an hour to cross. On Feb. 12, Hartsfield Jackson General Manager Miguel Southwell gave the agency 60 days to improve or the airport will bring in its own private contractors to man the checkpoints, according to WSB. Undercover Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents tested TSA screeners 70 times, posing as passengers in order to “smuggle” weapons and explosives through airports nationwide in 2015. The agency failed 67 times to find the contraband items, or 95 percent of the trials, according to ABC News. … In Southwell’s letter, sent to The Signal by Director of Communications Reese McCranie, he said the airport is “giving serious consideration to TSA’s Screening Partnership Program (SPP),” which allows qualified private contractors to screen passengers and their luggage, and “is conducting exhaustive research and weighing pros and cons” of privatization. Southwell said private contractors might be able to use a greater share of part-time workers than TSA does to handle the fluctuation of passenger volumes through security checkpoints. TSA pledges to resolve the wait time issues by the summer. The agency will use more overtime to boost staffing, speed up training of new screeners, and deploy more dog teams that help human workers work faster, according to the AJC.