TSA expands use of screening officers to help at busy airports


People checking your bag at the airport expect big crowds this summer

TSA Administrator David Pekoske said nearly 1,000 employees have volunteered to be dispatched to other airports if needed.

It’s part of the agency’s plan to handle what is expected to be a frenetic holiday season.

“We expect this summer to be busy, and we’re as prepared as we can be,” Pekoske said at a news conference near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. “We are likely to exceed 2019 figures by far at some airports.”

Pekoske said the TSA — which has 47,500 screeners — is trying to predict when wait times in standard screening lanes will be at least 30 minutes, or when PreCheck traveler waits will be at least 10 minutes. When that happens, he said, volunteers from less busy airports will be sent to help reduce waits at busy airports.

The TSA screened, on average, more than 2.1 million travelers per day in April and May. That’s around 90% of the number of people it screened in the same period of 2019.

Airlines expect summer crowds to be similar to those of 2019, when more than 2.5 million people a day passed through US airport checkpoints.

Airlines have posted ambitious schedules for the summer holiday months, although some have recently scaled back those plans over fears they won’t have enough staff to operate every flight. Moreover, international travel is still well below pre-pandemic levels.

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This story has been updated to indicate the statement was made on Tuesday, not Thursday.

ABC News

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