Springfield-Branson Nat’l Airport mulling options as new FAA law eases restrictions on private security

President Obama signed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act last week. by Jonah Kaplan, KSPR News
jkaplan@kspr.com
5:15 AM CST, February 21, 2012
SPRINGFIELD-BRANSON NATIONAL AIRPORT

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All this week, KSPR News is looking at new laws signed by President Obama last week that are changing our travel.
The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 could make it easier for airports to hire private companies to handle airport security instead of the government-run TSA.

After9/11, the Transportation Security Administration took over security for all of the United States’ 450 airports.
Until now, airports that wanted private screeners had to get permission from the TSA and prove there would be a clear advantage to have it. Springfield applied last year – and just recently got its rejection letter.
The new law changes the burden of proof: now it’s the TSA who must make it clear why private screeners wouldn’t be as reliable or effective.
Airport officials say travelers shouldn’t think the actual screening process will be any different – private screeners would still have to follow government guidelines. The difference, they say, is behind the scenes.

“Under a perfect scenario, the passenger would not know the screener is private or TSA,” explains Brian Weiler, Director of Aviation at Springfield-Branson National Airport. “Our focus has and will continue to be on customer service. That’s our number one priority. I think there’s some feeling that having a private screener gives you more flexibility and allows you to put more focus on that.”
Weiler adds that with a private company, the airport might be able to handle customer complaints more effectively because there aren’t as many hurdles. Those complaints might even be handled faster than the TSA, a major government organization.

Springfield Airport officials have not made the decision whether or not they will apply again for private screeners; so far, they just like having the option.

Copyright © 2012, KSPR-TV

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