TSA cuts 40 jobs; longer lines at Guam airport possible
HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — If you’ve seen the long, crowded lines to the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at the island’s airport, expect the wait to possibly get worse.
A TSA official has recently informed the A.B. Won Pat Guam International Airport Authority that the agency has lost 40 full-time employees as a result of personnel downsizing, and the reduced staff could make the wait for the TSA screening process take even longer — if the airport’s configuration doesn’t improve.
This concern was expressed to Guam airport officials in a recent email to the Guam airport agency.
Robert Cothran, deputy assistant federal security director for TSA in Guam, wrote to express concern because the agency has yet to see the designs for GIAA’s checkpoint expansion project at the international airport terminal.
“We have asked the airport authority for the checkpoint design numerous times,” Cothran wrote.
“I have stressed the importance of getting this design to start the process.... If they do not respond in a timely manner, I would suggest we close the checkpoint expansion project,” Cothran wrote, in part. “I do caution the airport authority that my staffing has been impacted...and I lost 40 (full-time employees) and that will impact the checkpoint operation.”
“This will create excessive wait times, if we do not expand the checkpoints’ current configuration,” Cothran wrote.
The planned checkpoint expansion is in line with the airport’s $97 million third-floor construction, which will separate arriving and departing passengers. Currently, arriving and departing airline passengers are separated only by temporary dividers.
Arrivals at the airport increased by 4.8 percent, from 1.69 million passengers in fiscal 2015 to 1.77 million travelers last fiscal year.
The U.S. Travel Association has protested the staff cuts at TSA because of the long wait for the traveling public to get through TSA screening.
The issues involving the airport agency and TSA have prompted Sen. Frank Aguon Jr. to call an oversight hearing by his committee, which deals with transportation, infrastructure and the military buildup.
Aguon will convene the joint oversight hearing at 10 a.m. Friday in the Guam Congress Building public hearing room.
Airport representatives are expected to answer questions about the checkpoint expansion design and the wait time at TSA checkpoints.
The committee will also call Department of Public Works officials to hear an update on the Route 10A expansion project.