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TSA limits private screeners to 16 U.S. airports

February 1, 2011
Vittorio Hernandez – AHN News

Transportation Security Administration Chief John Pistole said over the weekend that the agency will limit private screeners to just 16 U.S. airports.

D.C., Washington, United States (AHN) – Transportation Security Administration Chief John Pistole said over the weekend that the agency will limit private screeners to just 16 U.S. airports.

Pistole explained the policy that the agency does not see any advantage to the use of private screeners.

The Screening Partnership Program permitted gateways to replace government screeners with private contractors who are attired in similar uniforms as those worn by TSA personnel, follow TSA standards and are supervised by the agency.

The TSA previously adopted a neutral standard toward private screeners, but changed its stand after more airports opted out of tapping private groups because of the public furor created by the TSA’s enhanced pat downs, criticized by many air travelers as intrusive.

Among the airports which will no longer tap private screeners are those in San Francisco and Kansas City. On Friday, the TSA rejected the application of Springfield-Branson Airport in Missouri to use private screeners.

The issue is far from resolved because several groups are still pushing for private screeners, while others back the TSA stand.

In Britain, it is not private screeners that airport authorities are using, but holograms to help disseminate airline and luggage regulations.

London Luton Airport used for the first time Monday a male and female hologram, aptly named Holly and Graham. The two, actors in real life, donned gold shirts and dress pants and gave directions to air passengers how to prepare for their flight prior to entering the security area.

Manchester Airport used two similar holograms on Friday to explain liquid restriction rules to passengers. Both airports used projection kit beams behind a glass mirror shaped like a person to achieve the hologram effect. The kit includes a speaker.

Many passengers thought the two sets of holograms were real persons standing next to them.

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