The safety and security of the traveling public is an airport’s top priority. At the same time, airports operate in an uncertain landscape filled with evolving requirements to address concerns about ever-changing global aviation security threats.
Maintaining the safety and security of the traveling public is a responsibility that is shared by airports, airlines, airport partners, federal government agencies, law enforcement, and the traveling public. Airport workers are trained to spot and report suspicious behavior. The traveling public is always encouraged to report suspicious activities.
We will continue to collaborate with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), our airline partners, and global stakeholders to ensure security requirements are not only effective but can be tailored to the unique operating environment of individual airports.
More than 825 million passengers traveled through a U.S. airport in 2017. The work the airport industry is doing to ensure modern infrastructure and greater efficiency in passenger screening could not be more important, especially as the industry prepares for continued traffic growth in the years ahead.
To provide the safest and most secure passenger experience possible, we must ensure that airports have the resources they need to improve their infrastructure and that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have the staffing resources they need to protect the American public in a complex world while providing an efficient screening process.
There is a ready source of funding – the 9/11 Passenger Security Fee – but Congress needs to stop diverting roughly one-third of the Fee collection for non-aviation security functions, such as debt reduction.
Airports continue to build upon our excellent relationship with TSA to provide seamless and expeditious security screening while maintaining the safety and security of the traveling public. To further enhance passenger facilitation, automated screening lanes have been deployed at many U.S. airports to enhance security and increase screening efficiency, by up to 30 percent.
Airports are also proactively promoting Trusted Traveler Programs – including TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and NEXUS – to expedite security screening and processing at U.S. and Canadian airports for pre-approved passengers.
Airport Perimeter Security
Maintaining the safety and security of the traveling public is the top priority for airports. Airports, in full compliance with federal requirements, continually work with their federal government, law enforcement and airline partners to examine, test, and improve upon the multi-layered, risk-based security system to provide for the safety and security of travelers.
Airport perimeter security involves multiple layers of integrated processes, procedures, and technologies to detect and mitigate breaches. While there is no perfect perimeter security system, the multiple layers of security – which airports routinely enhance – provide an effective system to deter and detect potential intruders.
Although perimeter fencing and controlled access gates are the most outwardly visible features, numerous other systems – both seen and unseen – are in place at airports to reinforce perimeter security. Airports are committed to ensuring effective security and implementing enhanced measures based on current and emerging threats and in response to assessments.
Airports work in continual collaboration with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, their airline partners and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), to routinely conduct risk and vulnerability assessments to identify potential weaknesses and guide the application of resources to further enhance perimeter security.
Because of the unpredictable nature of security threats, airports often go above and beyond baseline security requirements, implementing additional processes, procedures, and technologies that are adapted to each airport’s unique geographic locations and facility designs.
Public Area Security
In order to enhance the security of public areas, airport operators have strategically deployed airport law enforcement officers, increased the presence of canine operations, altered deployments to enhance response times, and educated employees to foster security awareness. Further, airports work with federal officials and local law enforcement to analyze all pertinent information to amend security strategies as necessary to enhance the airports’ security posture.
The Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Reimbursement Program was established by TSA in early 2002 to partially reimburse airport operators following new LEO requirements mandated by Congress through the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA). The program provides critical funding to support the deployment of airport law enforcement to support TSA screening operations. Congress must adequately fund the TSA LEO Reimbursement Program. Any reductions in law enforcement reimbursement will place a significant burden on already limited airport resources. Requiring an airport to provide law enforcement presence at screening checkpoints without reimbursement would degrade security and force airports struggle to balance critical security measures.
Prior to 9/11 airlines were responsible for monitoring exit lanes; after 9/11, TSA monitored most exit lanes; but now, the responsibility for monitoring exit lanes is being imposed on airport operators. Despite a Congressional mandate in the 9/11 Act, to test technology to monitor exit lanes, TSA has not developed a Qualified Product List for exit lane technology. Although airports agree that in the long term, technology provides the best solution for reducing the costs associated with exit lane monitoring, TSA should fund the procurement, installation, operation and maintenance of such technology.