Charleston airport security at exit lanes to cost $237,000 a year, require 13 officers
Picking up the tab for security at the exit lanes at Charleston International Airport will cost about $237,000 a year and require 13 part-time officers.
Charleston County Aviation Authority must pay for personnel to man the exit lanes at the airport after the Transportation Security Administration decided in October it would no longer perform the service at airports nationwide.
An airport panel recommended Tuesday the agency add the extra expense to the existing budget. The security officers will start Feb. 1.
It will be their responsibility to prohibit people from getting past the TSA checkpoints by trying to bypass them and to recognize people who might pose a security threat. They will also be responsible for checking identities of people who are not passengers, such as law enforcement officers and emergency responders who are allowed to go around security checkpoints.
Twelve of the part-time officers will work no more than 24 hours each per week and a supervisor can put in no more than 28 hours each week.
Charleston International generally sees flights from about 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. each day.
Aviation Authority staff members considered three options: contracting the work out to private security firms, installing equipment or hiring part-time personnel.
“Whatever we were going to pay for security companies, we would have to pay the same amount,” said Bill New, airports deputy director.
“And we would have no control over them,” Airports Director Paul Campbell added. “We will have full control of our employees.”
The officers will fall under the airport police office.
Staff members rejected installing costly equipment because TSA hasn’t approved technology for exit lanes.
The Aviation Authority is expected to join other airports across the nation in a lawsuit that has yet to be filed against the TSA to fight what they are calling an illegal mandate.
“The law says TSA must control who passes through,” said Aviation Authority attorney Arnold Goodstein. “To me, it’s nonsensical.”
A separate panel recommended that Hudson Group of New Jersey, a subsidiary of Swiss company Dufry AG, retain the retail concession contract for the airport, and Delaware North Companies win the food service bid. SSP America of Lansdowne, Va., holds the current food concession contract. It did not submit a bid, New said.
Both contracts are for 10 years and start in January.
The full Aviation Authority board will take up the security officers and the concession contracts at its meeting Nov. 21.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.