JACKSON (WNE) — The Transportation Security Administration has officially taken over security screening operations at Jackson Hole Airport.
The transition, which took place Monday, ended a bumpy, monthslong snafu.
Screeners previously on the airport’s payroll were left scratching their heads about their professional futures while the feds figured out who would check people’s IDs and bags before they boarded flights.
After the airport lost its security screening contract in December, it was awarded to another contractor, which backed out. Shortly afterward, the TSA said it would take over the operation. Both the TSA and airport said the transition has since been much less bumpy.
After 9/11, the TSA took over most American airports’ security operations. But about 20 airports were allowed to screen passengers privately, so long as they followed federal rules. Most of those airports hired private contractors to do the job. But the Jackson Hole Airport is unusual. For 20 years, it screened travelers itself, hiring about 60 people to do the job.
The airport is also unusual for another reason: Federalizing security at an airport that privately screened passengers is extremely rare.
So far, the TSA’s salary and benefit packages have convinced 26 of the airport’s 60 or so former screeners to join its ranks. Another 10 or so former screeners took other jobs at the airport, including at the fixed base operator, the hub for private air travel that the airport officially took over Monday.