GBTA Says Nation Must Work Together to Make Air Travel Safe, Efficient
The Global Business Travel Association has a message for Americans who are frustrated by increased wait times at airport security checkpoints: Travel buyers, suppliers and policymakers must join the Transportation Security Administration in finding solutions to the nation's growing air-travel challenges instead of blaming the agency.
"For several months, GBTA has been warning its members of tighter airport security and increasingly long security lines that would not necessarily bring added security. The devastation we saw in Brussels underscores the fact that forcing people to queue up in long lines to go through security could actually be setting up soft targets for terrorists," GBTA executive director and COO Michael W. McCormick said in a statement released last week. "But we are far beyond the time for finger pointing. Congress, the TSA, the travel industry and travelers themselves must come together as we embark on the busy summer travel season."
In his statement, McCormick acknowledged TSA's shortcomings, praised airports and encouraged travelers to be more proactive.
"It is well known that TSA is understaffed. But the agency must do a better job of utilizing the staff available and to better manage its resources. Local TSA officials need the flexibility and agility to manage security lines hour by hour. And TSA headquarters needs to ensure the officers on the ground have the intelligence and planning abilities to address security threats," he continued. "For their part, airports and airlines deserve credit for taking proactive steps to manage queues and for hiring contractors to help assist TSA personnel with non-screening functions. Finally, travelers must be cognizant of the strain on the system and do everything in their power to help move travel along."
Every frequent traveler should enroll in TSA's trusted traveler program, PreCheck, argued McCormick, who urged Congress to quickly pass legislation expanding it.
"As we work through the immediate crisis, TSA must begin to develop long-term solutions," he concluded. "GBTA strongly believes in risk-based programs and supports ways to expand enrollment in TSA's PreCheck program. The House and Senate have both embraced this plan, but the different vehicles for passage are being held up. GBTA has called on Congress to include this language in the FAA Reauthorization and to pass it without further delay.
"TSA, Congress and the air travel industry must address this as an all-hands-on-deck response, as we all need to share the responsibility of supporting the efforts necessary to protect one of our nation's most valued assets: safe and secure air travel."