Firing the TSA

Janet Napolitano is getting a lesson: treat customers unreasonably and they will leave. Airport operators do not have to use TSA to screen passengers, and an airport has already announced it will  use one of the five private screening firms already approved to offer security screening for air travelers.

Unsurprisingly, the move comes from a scrappy underdog airport which competes with a larger, more famous facility: Orlando Sanford Airport, which is much smaller and farther from the Disney/Universal Studios attractions than the better-known Orlando International Airport. Sanford is a focus airport for low cost carrier Allegiant (which offers service mostly to smaller markets), but has scheduled international service by Icelandic Airlines, as well as frequent charter service by British airlines such as Monarch and Thomas Cook, which specialize in package tours.  It is owned by British firm, which also operates airports in the UK (such as Luton Airport, outside London -- another secondary field), and offers lower landing fees than Orlando International Airport.

Allegiant Airlines suddenly has a major selling point to travelers bound for Orlando. I wonder if the operators of other fields competing against larger and better-known airports -- such as Oakland International, Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Ontario International Airport to the east of LA , and Stewart Field in Newburgh, NY -- might take a lesson. This is the sort of move that could mushroom, and teach a valuable lesson to the arrogant Napolitano.


The TSA writes with helpful information. There are already 16 airports (and one heliport) that have opted-out and are using private security firms under the "Screening Partnership Program": San Francisco International Airport, Kansas City International Airport, Greater Rochester International Airport, Sioux Falls Regional Airport, Jackson Hole Airport, Tupelo Regional Airport, Key West International Airport, Charles M. Schultz-Sonoma County Airport, Roswell Industrial Air Center, Havre, Lewistown, Sidney-Richland (SDY), MT, Glasgow, Wolf Point, Glendive, Miles City and E. 34th Street Heliport (6N5), NY.

The TSA sets security protocols and standards, which include the enhanced pat downs and imaging technology, so there may be no advantage, other than having private sector employees rather than TSA employees doing the security checks.

Hat tip: Greg Soule, DHS
If you experience technical problems, please write to