TSA Backs Away From Eliminating Security Screening at Small Airports
The head of the Transportation Security Administration said the agency has nixed the much-criticized idea of getting rid of security checkpoints at smaller airports in the US, saying it was always just a hypothetical situation.
In a statement on Tuesday and a meeting with the USA Today editorial board Wednesday, TSA Administrator David Pekoske said that the idea of doing away with security screening for airports that served planes of 60 passengers or fewer was just a thought exercise the agency played with to come up with ways to make the organization's budget healthier.
"We're not doing that. Real simple," Pekoske told USA Today. "We looked at that and decided that was not an issue worth pursuing. Off the table."
Doing away with the TSA checkpoints at as many as 150 smaller airports would have saved $115 million annually and freed up as many as 1,300 screeners to work at bigger airports. And security screenings are already a foreign concept at airports in Alaska.
But the notion was swiftly lambasted by politicians, airline workers and passengers, who worried that it was sacrificing security for the bottom line.
Ultimately, the cons outweighed the pros, Pekoske said.
"Part of what any federal agency does over the course of a given year is we look at gaps we need to cover, because our budget process is moving, and where can we find efficiencies," Pekoske told USA Today. "We looked at it and said the benefits that it would present are not worth the risks it would introduce and we just decided not to pursue."