LOCAL NEWS

Port of Seattle is spending millions to speed up TSA lines at Sea-Tac

Apr 15, 2016, 5:25 AM
Millions of dollars could be spent to speed up the lines at Sea-Tac airport. (Eric Mandel, MyNorthw...
Millions of dollars could be spent to speed up the lines at Sea-Tac airport. (Eric Mandel, MyNorthwest)
(Eric Mandel, MyNorthwest)

The Transportation Security Administration has 32 security lanes at Sea-Tac Airport, but it only uses about 17 despite the ever-growing passenger numbers traveling through the area. The Port of Seattle is now ready to spend millions of dollars to get those vacant lanes open.

Related: Sea-Tac travelers actually attempted to bring these items onto a plane

The Port of Seattle commission gave its chief executive officer the thumbs up to spend $3.3 million to contract with a private company. That company will assist with managing lines at Sea-Tac Airport from May 1 through January 2017. The contract has yet to become official, but the port has already spread the word that it is working to alleviate waiting in the airports’ packed lines.

“These long lines are unacceptable and they’re happening even before our busy summer season,” said Port Commissioner Tom Albro. “The port is stepping up to help travelers get through the airport as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are listening to our travelers and making up for TSA shortages.”

As part of its argument for the hire, the port commission’s March 18 agenda states that Delta Airlines has reported as many as 500 passengers missing their flights due to the long security lines at Sea-Tac, and they aren’t alone. Wait times at security checkpoints have grown to as long as two hours with nearly 60,000 people passing through each day during the peak travel season.

TSA has previously cited a lack of funding to properly staff airports as a reason the lines remain long and slow. TSA staffing levels have not risen along with passenger numbers in the past five years, making 2016 its lowest staffed year. With private help, the port hopes that wait times will be brought down to 20-30 minutes.

According to the port’s March 18 commission agenda, it plans to contract with HSS, the only firm that is certified through the Safety Act to perform duties at the airport. Though contractors will be assigned to non-security positions at the airport, such as helping passengers prepare for the checkpoint, moving around plastic bins and line management. The hope is that the contractors will free up TSA agents to handle more security jobs and open more checkpoints to process passengers – perhaps even the remaining 15 lanes it currently doesn’t use.

The port is also expected to use its own security staff to help out at the airport.

The $3.3 million slated for the contract was not part of the port’s budget for the year. The port, however, plans to pay for the effort by recovering the funds “through terminal rents,” according to the commission’s agenda.

MyNorthwest reached out to various airlines that operate through Sea-Tac Airport to see if any of the additional terminal rental costs would be passed along to the customer. The airlines either did not respond by deadline or said they could not discuss future pricing.

Local News

Point Roberts...
Nicole Jennings

As situation in Point Roberts grows ‘dire,’ Gov. Inslee pushes for Biden to open border

As Point Roberts businesses hit 18 months with the majority of their customers locked out, Gov. Inslee calls on the federal government to reopen the border.
16 hours ago
Police vehicle fire, Seattle protest...
KIRO Radio Newsdesk

Tacoma woman pleads guilty to setting 5 Seattle police vehicles on fire during 2020 protest

A 26-year-old Tacoma woman pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the burning of five police vehicles in May of 2020 in downtown Seattle.
16 hours ago
COVID misinformation...
Nick Bowman

State commission warns of discipline for doctors who grant vaccine exemptions without ‘legitimate’ reason

A state commission stressed its opposition to COVID-related misinformation last week, threatening discipline for physicians who help it spread.
16 hours ago
Battle Ground tornado...
KIRO Radio Newsdesk

Tornado touches down in Southern Washington on Monday evening

The National Weather Service confirmed today that a weak tornado touched down near Battle Ground, Washington, on Monday evening.
16 hours ago
robocalls...
KIRO Radio Newsdesk

Robocalls ‘are not going to go away’ even as new US law kicks in

New rules on robocalls kick in Tuesday, Sept. 28, but an advocate with WashPIRG says that doesn't mean the calls will stop entirely.
16 hours ago
clearview...
Andrew Scheinthal, KIRO 7 News

Deputies: Murder suspect shot in Snohomish County after multi agency investigation

Members of the King County-based Valley SWAT team opened fire in a Snohomish County parking lot Monday, while pursuing a murder suspect.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...
By Alaska Airlines

Calling all football fans: follow Russell on the road

Take your Northwest spirit that we’re known for on the road this season with Alaska Airlines.
...
By Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Port of Seattle is spending millions to speed up TSA lines at Sea-Tac