Removing Security Screening from Airports?

There have been several reports in the news lately of airports across the country having their security screening equipment removed by the TSA.  This is actually pretty common as long as TSA is the owner of the equipment. Prior to 9/11 various entities were responsible for screening and for purchasing screening equipment. The airlines would often buy what they felt was needed, but if the airport wanted more machines than the airlines were willing to pay, then the airport would be footing the bill.

In 1996, as part of the Gore Commission recommendations, airports were required to purchase the Explosive Detection Systems and Explosive Trace Detectors; I remember actually picking out which ETD’s to buy when I was the assistant ASC at Denver International Airport.
In this case, the airport has lost it’s commercial service, which means the FAA has decided that the airport has fewer than 2,500 annual passenger enplanements (boardings of paying passengers). The FAA does not make such decisions lightly and will often give airports years to rebuild their air carrier service before declaring that the airport is no longer a commercial airport.
When an commercial service airport is no longer a commercial service airport, it becomes a General Aviation airport. Since GA airports are not presently required to have screeners or screening equipment, the move on it’s face does not seem to have a big impact. The downside however, is that when the airport is attempting to entice new air carrier service, it’s always nice to see that the airport has the equipment necessary for the job instead of waiting on a TSA purchase order to replace the equipment.
If I was that airport manager, I would be upset at the move, although I would also understand why it’s being done. If I’m showing off my airport to attract service I’d like to see some furniture in the place, just like Realtors like to see some furniture in a home that’s for sale — it increases the value.
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8 Responses to Removing Security Screening from Airports?

  1. I definitely agree with Jeffrey price on this topic. Yes it’s the TSA’s equipment and if it isnt being used much it could be used in another location, but the removal of the equipment will not bring in any new carriers. This will probably result in most carriers looking over this airport. I’m not positive all the ways airports generate income, but I would assume they will eventually lose some income due to carriers discontinuing service at these airports.

  2. Thanks for your comments CJ. The removal of this equipment will indeed result in carriers overlooking this airport.

  3. Though the removal of the TSA equipment will cause the loss of jobs and no new carriers, it will be put into use somewhere else where it is more needed. Which could bring in new jobs to the new location. It would be more benifitial to the TSA if the equitment was being used more frequently. However Jeffery Price has a good point when he says “If I’m showing off my airport to attract service I’d like to see some furniture in the place, just like Realtors like to see some furniture in a home that’s for sale — it increases the value.” Value will absolutly decrease without this equiptment.

  4. If an airport is no longer deemed “commercial” then it is understandable for the TSA to remove the screening equipment. Such equipment can be used to enhance the security of airports that actually do have general public customers utilizing the facilities.

    My question is how efficiently the TSA deploys the screening equipment. Do they simply remove it from one airport and install it at another? If the equipment is not used at another airport soon after being removed, then I would argue that it would be best to leave it in the original airport. However, if there is some security need at another facility, then I think it is hard to argue it should be left unused.

  5. Jeffrey Price gives significant points on the thoughts of removing security screenings at airports. I like how he points out facts upon how many airports are losing their status as a commercial airport and downgrading to a general aviation airport. I realize that it definitely is a good idea to keep the security screening equipment for future use if the airport ever does go back up to commercial status. It wouldn’t make sense for them to sell back the equipment, because their goal would be to reach commercial status again and maintain that status, with that being their main goal then the security equipment would be a must to keep for future use rather than selling the equipment and then realizing they have reached commercial status and waiting on the equipment to come again which could take many weeks and provide great disadvantages such as losing that commercial status or even boarding on a passenger carrying a gun or some kind of explosive object.

  6. I agree as well. If I’m trying to get other airliner companies to come and do business with me, I would rather have the needed equipment in my airport.

  7. This is an interesting subject partly because everyone is so hyped up on security at airports. Now they’re removing security screening, Even if they have to cut costs this is still is no excuse. People rely on the fact that another 9/11 won’t happen when they board an airplane.

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