(Adds detail of request, background)
May 26 Airport screening delays have caused more
than 70,000 American Airlines customers and 40,000
checked bags to miss their flights this year, an executive for
the airline told a U.S. congressional subcommittee on Thursday.
A shortage of staff and a surge in air travelers have
created a nightmare scenario for the U.S. Transportation
Security Administration (TSA), with airport wait times in places
like Chicago stretching beyond two hours.
While TSA is taking steps to shorten lines such as hiring
more full-time officers, it lacks the staffing to handle peak
travel times this summer, Administrator Peter Neffenger said on
American, the world’s largest airline, wants TSA to create a
senior internal role focused on traveler concerns, said American
Airlines Group Inc Senior Vice President for Customer Experience
Kerry Philipovitch. The request comes days after Neffenger shook
up TSA’s management, removing the head of security operations,
Philipovitch also recommended that TSA consider reinstating
a risk-based screening program that it canceled last year
because of high-profile lapses.
In the program, officers trained to detect irregular
behavior would pull unsuspicious travelers randomly into
“PreCheck” lanes that can process people faster, as they do not
remove their shoes and other belongings.
TSA has projected it will screen 740 million people at U.S.
airports this year, some 15 percent more than in 2013 despite a
12 percent cut in its staff.
(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in New York; Editing by Chizu
Nomiyama and Meredith Mazzilli)
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