ORLANDO, FL – Orlando Sanford International Airport, of America’s busiest, announced its plans to no longer use TSA workers in screening passengers. “The president of the airport said Tuesday that he would apply again to use private operators to screen passengers, using federal standards and oversight,” reports the Miami Herald.
Though Sanford International was denied the right to opt out of TSA services in November 2010, a law passed by the Senate last month forces the TSA to reconsider applications. Several other major US airports are now considering the same move as the Orlando airport. Orlando Sanford is in the top 30 busiest airports in the world.
Replacing federal Transportation Security Administration workers with contract employees would result in a more “customer friendly” operation, airport president Larry Dale said at a Tuesday news conference. Dale also implied the move was motivated by the numerous horror stories from passengers about their encounters with the TSA.
The new Federal law that opened the door for airports to make the move was championed by U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park. Mica, who wrote the law creating the TSA after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, argues the agency has become a bloated, inefficient bureaucracy. “I want to get it [TSA] out of the human resources business and back to security,” Mica said.
TSA has been slow to reissue the guidelines on the rule change, prompting Republican Representatives Darrell Issa of California, Jason Chaffetz of Utah, and Mica to push TSA head John Pistole to implement the mandate.
Appearing at Orlando Sanford International yesterday, Mica said he had written to 200 airports advising them of the opportunity to opt out of using TSA screeners. TSA officials are downplaying the opportunity for airports to dispense with their screeners due to its concern there will be a mass exodus that could threaten the agency’s continued existence.
West Yellowstone Airport in Montana has already replaced its TSA screeners with private security. Bert Mooney Airport, also in Montana, is attempting to do the same. 17 other airports currently have private security, including Kansas City, San Francisco, and smaller airports such as Key West and Jackson Hole, Wy.
However, when Texas lawmakers attempted to pass a bill last year that would have outlawed invasive TSA pat downs, federal authorities threatened to implement a blockade that would have imposed a virtual “no fly zone” over the lone star state. The Texas bill would have allowed felony charges for agents who groped or touched any passenger in a sexually inappropriate manner.
Mica and Dale contend the reason for the change in the law is to reduce costs through a cut in what they consider to be unnecessary management and improved customer service. “It’s the private sector that made this the greatest country in the world,” Dale said.
Kicking out the incompetent, often criminally-inclined and abusive TSA across the nation would encourage millions of irritated Americans to start flying again and pump much needed money into the travel industry. It would also create thousands of new private sector jobs.