More Private Screeners to Be Allowed at Airports
Companies wanting to take over passenger screening at U.S. airports from the TSA will have an easier time getting contracts under Senate legislation.
TSA must allow airports to switch to private companies for screeners unless it can show the move wouldn’t be cost-effective and would be detrimental to security, according to the legislation, which the Senate has cleared for President Barack Obama’s signature. The House approved the measure Feb. 3.
Before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, airlines were responsible for aviation security and hired security companies to operate checkpoints.
The law that created the TSA put it in charge of security while requiring five airports to have private screeners under a two-year pilot program. The number later grew to 16.
The Federal Aviation Administration blueprint approved by the House Feb. 3 and set for a Senate vote will force TSA to reconsider applications it rejected. One of those is from the Orlando Sanford International Airport. The TSA has already reconsidered and approved an application at Yellowstone Airport in Montana.
Seventy-four companies registered last year when the TSA sought bids for contracts at six airports.