TSA considers eliminating screenings at smaller airports

Local News

The world of flying drastically changed after the horrific events of Sept. 11. Now, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is considering getting rid of passenger screenings at more than 150 airports. 

This change would only apply to airports that operate flights with 60 seats or fewer, meaning it would not impact the airports in Peoria and Bloomington. Regardless, passengers are concerned. 

The TSA currently screens passengers at nearly 440 airports nationwide. Under this proposal, that number could drop drastically. According to internal documents obtained by CNN, the TSA is considering ending security screenings at more than 150 small and medium-sized airports. 

“The […] thing is that really drives me crazy is I heard in the story that they were talking about the big airports having better technology? They have the same technology that we have,” Director of Operations at Peoria International Airport Gene Olson said. “They just have more of it.” 

“I think decreasing screenings at smaller airports kinda just makes people not feel safe and not feel comfortable,” flyer Javion Jordan said. 

The TSA reports it is resurrecting an idea that has been explored before, as far back as 2011. 

“Terrorists are really good at figuring out where the weak spots are and if we lax the security in smaller airports, I think that we’re asking for problems,” flyer Doris Dunham said. 

Under the proposal, passengers and luggage arriving from smaller airports would still be screened before getting on connecting flights at larger airports. 

By eliminating screenings at smaller airports, TSA’s recent cost analysis estimates the agency could save $115 million a year and funnel that money to beef up security at larger airports. 

“I think it’ll hurt smaller airports,” Jordan said. “I think people will drive out of their way to go to the bigger airports so they can feel more secure about their wellbeing and people around them.”

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