Southwell wrote that unless there is a “dramatic shift” in staffing or new technology in the next 60 days, the airport will take steps to launch privatized screening at the airport.
TSA in a written statement responded that it is evaluating Southwell’s letter.
Hartsfield-Jackson “remains a focus airport” for Neffenger, according to the TSA. “We recognize that the issues raised in the letter are a concern, not just in Atlanta.”
“While we are working on better solutions, we believe the public will support our vital mission of ensuring safe air transportation,” TSA said in its written statement.
According to TSA, screeners in Atlanta are screening about 15 percent more passengers a day than last year, or 8,000 extra passengers a day. Yet TSA says its staffing in its current budget allocated by Congress caps screener staffing at the same level as the previous year — the lowest level in five years.
When long security lines were causing concerns at Hartsfield-Jackson last year, Neffenger said lines could get longer, not shorter, amid a TSA initiative to close gaps in security screening.
“I believe that the traveling public is willing to accept that there may be a slightly longer wait to ensure that they’re secure getting on the plane,” Neffenger said last year.