The head of the Transportation Security Administration has officially shut down reports that the agency will shutter checkpoints at 150 smaller airports across the nation, though a recent study found that doing so could save $115 million per year.
“We’re not doing that. Real simple,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske told USA Today in an August 8 interview. “We looked at that and decided that was not an issue worth pursuing. Off the table.”
Poekoske further divulged that while the TSA studied the idea of dropping federal staffing at airports for planes with 60 or less seats, in a move that could relocate roughly 1,300 TSA workers to larger air hubs, the risks did not outweigh any potential benefits.
“Reporting on pre-decisional budget exercises is misleading as it doesn’t reflect the entire process, and certainly doesn’t take into account the dedicated TSA professionals who work tirelessly to assess impact, risk, and feasibility of different scenarios,” Pekoske further told The Hill of the early speculation that TSA screenings would indeed terminate security screenings at 150 smaller airports.
“Every year as part of the federal budget process, the TSA is asked to discuss possible ways to be more efficient,” TSA spokesman Michael Bilello shared with the Times. “This year is no different.”
The TSA employs around 60,000 workers and screens air travel passengers at 440 airports across the nation, operating with an annual budget of $7.58 billion, the Times reports.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.