Washington (October 29, 2013) - Today, the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation sent a letter to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expressing concerns about a new plan to reassign responsibility for the monitoring of exit lanes from TSA to airport operators. Exit lanes are the exit doors at airports between arriving flights and baggage claims. In the letter, the delegation asks TSA to explain what the impact of the reassignment of responsibility will have on aviation security. The change is scheduled to begin in January 2014. At Logan International Airport, the 19 th busiest airport in the United States with 29.3 million passengers in 2012, there are 15 exit lanes throughout five terminals that would cost $4.5 million a year for Massport to staff with members of state law enforcement.
"We support TSA's original decision to staff exit lanes with TSA employees and have questions about how TSA's plans could undermine aviation security," writes the Massachusetts delegation in the letter. "In particular, we are concerned about its impact on the security of the flying public, airport employees, and airline crewmembers."
"TSA's mandate is to administer a uniform, comprehensive federal system for screening passengers and baggage before accessing the sterile area," said Ed Freni, Massport¹s Director of Aviation. "TSA staffing of exit lanes at airports like Boston Logan International Airport is critical to the agency fulfilling its responsibility."
A copy of the letter to TSA can be found HERE .
In the letter, the Massachusetts delegation asks TSA to respond to questions that include:
· What potential security risk does improperly staffed exit lanes pose to passengers, personnel and aircraft?
· When and how does TSA plan to implement this change in the responsibility of monitoring exit lanes at airports?
· Why is TSA choosing not to view exit lane monitoring as a screening function given that armed law enforcement officers and known crew members often use the exit lane to enter what is intended to be a secure area?
· How will TSA ensure that security in these areas is maintained, including whether nonTSA employees are qualified to perform this important security function and are properly trained?