© 2020 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Local News

TSA Shifts Exit Lane Security To Airport

Julie Rose

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.

We Need Your Help Now More Than Ever

WFAE mask

Our newsroom is hard at work covering everything from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to the aftermath of the election, the race for a vaccine and our communities' fight to rebuild. But we can't do it without you. Support our local journalism with a donation of ANY amount, and we’ll send you a free WFAE member mask courtesy of AllDayMask.com of Monroe.