The Transportation Security Administration says it will no longer staff passenger exits at Charlotte Douglas International Airport come January.
To plug the security gap, interim aviation director Brent Cagle says Charlotte will spend close to half a million dollars paying contract workers from the private firm G4S to man the exits for nine months. During that time, Charlotte officials will explore permanent options – including the possibility of technology to secure the exits.
In what Cagle sarcastically calls "excellent TSA fashion," the agency is not offering any solutions or guidance to airports about how to pick up the slack on exit lane security.
"That is one of the things that the taxes passengers pay are designed to pay for," says Cagle. "The TSA is reducing their service level, but the taxes aren't being reduced, so we view this as an unfunded mandate."
Despite widespread opposition from airport administrators nationwide, the TSA announced last month that it will no longer secure the exits travelers pass through on their way to baggage claim. TSA cites federal budget cuts and says the switch will save it $88 million a year, while focusing on its "priority of screening passengers and baggage." But Cagle says airports will merely shift the costs to airlines, who will then shift it to customers through airfares.
On Monday night, the Charlotte City Council will consider a $410,000 transfer from the Airport's Discretionary Fund to cover nine-months of contract security for the exit lanes.