After thousands of bags were delayed at Sky Harbor last week and long lines and staffing shortages here in Tucson, some say TSA at our Arizona airports has to go. Sky Harbor has threatened to use private security screeners, but will Tucson as well?
The most popular reason some airports have made the switch to private security is to improve efficiency at security checkpoints. There are only 22 airports across the country so far who employ private security contractors.
The Tucson Airport Authority said other airports in addition to Phoenix, like Atlanta and Seattle, have also threatened to apply for private security this year.
In order for it to happen, each airport's TSA has to decide to step aside to let in the private contractor. Then, TSA gets the final approval on who that private contractor will be. So far, Phoenix has not applied to start this process.
For Tucson, this option is not on the table at the moment.
"The Tucson Airport Authority has never seriously considered going the private contractor route. even when we had our issues in March and April it had to do with federal mandates," said a representative from the Tucson Airport Authority. "So far it appears our local TSA management has done a good job reducing the wait times and lines here."
There are also concerns about holding these private companies accountable, but the airport authority says they will still be supervised by TSA.