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Will Privatizing Airport Security Be Cheaper AND Safer? Many Airports Think So

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"A new law has made it easier for airports to privatize their security"

A new law has made it easier for airports to privatize their security, and after years of passenger complaints, many are interested in making the change.

Mr. Dale, who is the president and chief executive of Orlando Sanford International Airport, said, "We’ve visited a number of airports who have opted out of the T.S.A. screenings, and no one wants to go back...We think this will be more efficient and customer-friendly for us.”

According to the New York Times:

Sixteen of the nation’s 450 airports use private contractors, including larger ones like San Francisco International Airport as well as smaller ones like Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming.

Those that want to leave the agency’s screening program must prove to the federal government that contractors are more cost-effective and would not be detrimental to security. The private screeners have to follow T.S.A. guidelines and fall under its supervision, although the agency will not conduct private screeners’ training. The T.S.A. will pay for the private screeners.

The description of the potential privatization leads some to ask whether the result would be truly "privatized," or whether the TSA would simply be one step further away.

But what are the downsides to airports privatizing their security?  Would it be more expensive?  Less safe?

A House transportation committee reported that, on the contrary, if the nation’s top 35 airports switched to private contractors taxpayers would save $1 billion in just over five years.  Similarly, Justin Harclerode, a spokesman for the committee, said that private contractors "exceeded or provided the same level of security as T.S.A. screeners."

Forbes on Fox recently hosted six guests to discuss the issue.  Ideas ranged from replacing the TSA with Marines, to emulating El Al's profile-intensive method.

Watch the full clip, below:

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