February 19, 2016 9:15 AM
Long lines due to too few TSA screeners prompted Hartsfield-Jackson Airport’s GM to demand the TSA do more at the world’s busiest airport. Or force ATL’s hand and hire a private security firm to do the TSA’s work.
WSB’s Aaron Diamant obtained a copy of the “terse letter” Miguel Southwell sent to TSA officials with his demands. And Southwell already has a prominent backer: U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson.
[Southwell] wrote that the airport, “struggled with TSA staffing shortfalls in 2015, and the airport is dreading the outcome of summer 2016.”
With record-breaking passenger counts this year, TSA did beef up staffing by more than seven percent but in his letter, Southwell said, “This increase –while appreciated–was late and inadequate,” and “things appear to be only getting worse.”
Southwell then put the TSA on notice, saying the agency has 60 days to get its act together or the airport will bring in its own qualified private contractors to man the checkpoints.
“Are you on board with this plan?” Diamant asked Sen. Johnny Isakson.
“Oh, yeah, absolutely,” Isakson said.
Hell hath no fury like an elite traveler forced to queue in cantankerous lines like a commoner. As our city’s most vital piece of infrastructure we should be doing everything to keep Hartsfield as easy to use as possible, and with the increasing number of hubs internationally, the federal government should also make Hartsfield’s success a national priority.