FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2016
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger held a press conference at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to announce the success TSA has had in reducing security wait times at US airports. Airports were an integral part of TSA’s success by providing the following support:
- Airports collaborated with TSA and airlines to successfully minimize security wait times.
- Airports contributed significantly – on a voluntary and temporary basis – by providing staff to support non-screening functions. This allowed TSA to focus on its core mission of screening passengers and baggage.
- Airports continue to participate with TSA’s Incident Command Center, which has allowed TSA to more readily identify potential issues in advance, so they can be addressed prior to becoming larger problems that negatively impact travelers.
- In May, ACI-NA offered industry recommendations to TSA to improve efficiency at airport security checkpoints. The status of those recommendations can be found here.
While airports have been good partners in working with TSA to reduce and prevent long wait times, Congress needs to take action to provide TSA with the necessary resources to efficiently and effectively screen passengers and baggage.
- Even with Congressional approval for TSA to reprogram funds to provide 768 new Transportation Security Officers (TSOs), convert 2,784 TSOs from part-time to full-time and authorize additional overtime, TSA is still understaffed by approximately 4,000 TSOs.
- In the long term, Congress should provide TSA the funding for the number of TSOs necessary to efficiently and effectively screen passengers and baggage.
- 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.
ACI-NA will continue to provide industry support to ensure minimal security wait times at US airports in the future.