News

Chaos Looms as US Airport Security Faces Staff Shortages

Photo by Josh Sorenson on Unsplash
Chaos Looms as US Airport Security Faces Staff Shortages

The United States is facing a chaotic summer of air travel as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has failed to recruit the staff numbers it was looking for to conduct security screenings. Meanwhile, security queues at airports are already at pre-pandemic levels.

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

In February, the TSA advertised for 6,000 security checkpoint officers, but so far has only managed to fill 2,200 positions. The agency hosted virtual recruitment fairs and even offered $500 bonuses to candidates at some airports for speeded-up paperwork.

But the Washington Post is reporting that, according to internal TSA memos seen by the newspaper, passenger numbers and staffing issues are resulting in queues of up to 45 minutes at TSA checkpoints.

 The TSA currently employs around 47,000 officers, but the recruitment drive was launched in anticipation of a summer travel boon for vaccinated Americans.

The pandemic was devastating for air travel and those employed directly in aviation. More than 7,700 TSA employees contracted coronavirus, resulting in the death of 16 employees and one contractor. Nevertheless, most TSA employees spent the last year largely at home.

Although initial predictions suggested that air travel would take years to recover, but more recent passenger numbers in the US – especially in the leisure sector – indicate that the recovery may come more quickly and more robustly than originally anticipated.

The pandemic dealt air travel a devastating blow, with passenger numbers plunging last spring and airlines receiving billions of dollars in aid to keep workers on the payroll. For much of last year, many TSA officers were kept home. The TSA is currently screening around 1.5 million passengers a day, which is a huge jump from April 2020 but still below 2019 levels, when 2.5 million passengers were being routinely screened every day during the summer months.

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Fionn Davenport is the editor-in-chief of the ITTN group, including ITTN and ITTN Ireland. He's one of Ireland's best-known travel journalists and writers, with nearly 30 years' experience writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet and others.

More in News

Turkish Airlines Announces Summer Schedule Ex Dublin

Fionn DavenportMay 4, 2021

Travel-Hungry Customers Want New Adventures

Fionn DavenportMay 4, 2021

JWT Just a Tiny Part of Unfolding Disaster

Fionn DavenportMay 4, 2021

Star Wars Day: The European Hidden Star Wars Destinations to Visit

Fionn DavenportMay 4, 2021

Ireland ‘Leading’ Europe in Developing Digital Green Cert, Minister Says

Fionn DavenportMay 4, 2021

EU to Open International Travel to Fully Vaccinated

Fionn DavenportMay 4, 2021

MSC Announces Fleet-Wide Vaccination Programme

Fionn DavenportMay 2, 2021

ITTN Photographer of the Year 2021, Sponsored by Emirates: The Ruff-eree’s Results Are In…

Fionn DavenportApril 30, 2021

Micheál Martin Raises Possibility International Travel Could Resume in July

Fionn DavenportApril 30, 2021

Copyright © 2021 ittn