NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Airport Security Doesn't Come Cheap

April 11, 2002

Airport passenger screening is costing the government almost four times what the airlines paid before Sept. 11. Some of that is due to the costs of transitioning from privately-supervised screening to government supervision.

  • The Transportation Security Administration expects to pay as much as $211 million a month for passenger screening services.
  • That compares to $55 million a month paid by the airlines in 2000.
  • The average hourly wage for airport screeners has climbed to $12 under the government supervised system, compared to $7 an hour before Sept 11.
  • Airlines are also asking for $243 million to pay for fortified cockpit doors -- $150 million more than the government had budgeted.

Congress has initially funded TSA with $1.3 billion. The Bush administration is seeking $4.4 billion more to carry the agency through Sept. 30. That's almost as such as the agency's proposed $4.8 billion budget for the next fiscal year.

However, as one former counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration explained, before September 11, there was little money spent by airlines on compensation and training of security personnel, and few requirements from the FAA. Now, greater demands will be placed on personnel and they will be trained accordingly - 100 hours of training instead of the previous 12.

Source: Barbara De Lollis, "Cost of Airport Security Soaring, USA Today, April 11, 2001.

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