Airport security lines may increase after sequester

Warning: Expect longer airport security lines after sequestration Photo: Barry Bahler/DHS

ATLANTA, Feb. 22, 2013 – For anyone who thinks airport security checkpoints are an abomination now, just wait until the sequester kicks in.

That’s the warning some federal officials and Democrats in the U.S. House have issued.


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Should sequestration take effect March 1, the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), is threatening to furlough employees.

“Furloughs of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) would substantially increase airline passenger wait times by as much as an hour at the Nation’s largest and busiest airports,” U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in written testimony earlier this month. “Such delays would affect air travel significantly, potentially causing thousands of passengers to miss flights with negative economic consequences at the both the local and national levels.”

Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee contend 10 percent of the Federal Aviation Administration’s 40,000 employees could be furloughed. That would lead to air travel delays as a result of fewer air traffic controllers and would harm the tourism and travel industry.

“At the busiest airports, the increase in peak airport wait times would regularly reach three or more hours,” according to a report from Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee. “These delays would dramatically impact air travel, potentially causing thousands of missed passenger connections daily, and negatively impact our economy.”


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The prospect is unacceptable to the U.S. Travel Association, which is asking travelers to call Congress and demand action to avert the sequester from taking place.

“The indiscriminate sequester cuts threaten to derail the travel-led recovery,” Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said in a statement.

“There is absolutely no excuse for travelers in one of the world’s most advanced nations to suffer through a travel process that wastes their precious time and resources,” Dow added. “With the launch of the sequester cuts, we will call on travelers to rise up and make their voices heard.”


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Todd DeFeo

Todd DeFeo jouned The Washington Times Communities in May 2012. He covers travel and Georgia. A marketing professional who never gave up his award-winning journalistic ways, DeFeo revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He also serves as editor of The Travel Trolley.

 

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