Orlando Airport Moves to Ditch TSA Staff

Rep. Mica urges airports to hire private contractors instead

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 19, 2010 4:52 AM CST

(Newser) – Air security staffers aren't getting a lot of love lately, and Orlando's airport now wants to get rid of as many TSA workers as it can. The Florida airport has applied to replace TSA screeners with private contractors. An airport spokeswoman tells Aol News the action is in response to consumer complaints about TSA staff: The move would give the airport greater oversight of the operations, she said. Security procedures would stay the same if the request is granted and some TSA staff would remain as supervisors.

As complaints about TSA scans and pat-downs surge, Rep. John Mica, the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee, is urging other airports to follow Orlando's lead. "As TSA has grown larger, more impersonal, and administratively top-heavy, I believe it is important that airports across the country consider utilizing the opt-out provision provided by law," he wrote in a letter to 150 airports. Mica, AP notes, has received some hefty campaign contributions from companies that might take the TSA's place. It's uncertain if contractors would reassure consumers who already have privacy concerns about the new "nudie" airport security scans. Click here for more on Orlando's plans.

A TSA official checks passengers entering a security checkpoint.
A TSA official checks passengers entering a security checkpoint.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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Privatization breeds competition. It will create a more efficient operation, it will allow us greater oversight as an airport authority, and it will result in greater customer satisfaction.
- Airport spokeswoman Diane Crews

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