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Long lines at TIA, airport blames TSA staffing

Posted at 10:14 PM, Mar 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 01:16:23-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson International Airport has longer than normal lines according to its president and CEO, she says Transportation Security Administration staffing problems are to blame.

Bonnie Allin, TIA's CEO, wrote an open letter to all passengers this week to explain why passengers are experiencing longer lines. The full letter is at the end of this story.

"Many customers have let us know they feel the level of service provided by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at our checkpoints is not up to expectations. We hear about long lines with wait times that sometimes come dangerously close to causing passengers to miss flights. Additionally, expedited PreCheck lanes, for which passengers pay a fee, never seem to be open during busy travel times," wrote Allin. 

Allin says there are "staffing shortage issues" at TIA and other airports around the country.

So far this year, there has been a spike in passengers traveling through Tucson's airport. TSA released a statement earlier this year warning travelers of a increase in traffic during the spring at TIA. 

TSA spokesperson, Nico Melendez, says currently TIA is 100 percent staffed but they did not increase staffing along with the current spike in passengers.

Allin claims Tucson's airport is also still affected by an exodus of TSA staff last year. She says by the end of April a new crop of TSA employees will be fully trained and working in Tucson.

While passengers are used to getting through TIA's security checkpoints quickly, the airport currently recommends getting to the airport two hours before your flight especially during peak hours. The peak hours are before 10 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays.