Posts Tagged ‘screeners’

Airports Consider Using Private Security Screeners

January 13, 2011 Comments off

Following the furor over invasive airport security screenings and personal pat-downs, some airports are now considering replacing government security screeners with private companies.

It’s a step the new chairman of the House Transportation Committee has been urging the nation’s airports to take. But it’s not clear travelers would notice much of a difference.

The Kansas City International Airport is one of 17 in the United States where the screeners work for private contractors, not the Transportation Security Administration.

The airport’s director, Mark VanLoh, is expecting to be busy this winter: “I will be giving a lot of tours in the next few months from airports all over the country coming to Kansas City to check us out.”

Using private contractors does make a difference, VanLoh says.

“In my opinion, these contract employees — they’re not federal employees; they’re not guaranteed a job for life,” he says. “If they don’t meet the performance goals or maybe they’re consistently rude, or maybe they miss objects that go through the machine, they are terminated. I can’t remember how easy that would be to do with a federal employee. I don’t think it is.”

Under TSA Supervision

Kansas City was one of the first airports after the Sept. 11 attacks to use screeners hired by private contractors. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001, which created the TSA, also gave airports the option of using private security screeners. Those that have range in size from San Francisco’s international airport to the regional facility in Tupelo, Miss.

With private screeners, the security line operates the same way it does at airports where TSA handles the screening: Travelers remove their shoes; take out their laptops. They go through the same full-body scanners Read more…