CLEVELAND–According to members of Cleveland City Council, there will be a decrease in TSA officers at Hopkins International Airport. The move has some frequent fliers questioning the safety of the decision.
“Reduction of approximately 10 TSA officers, which I believe comes in the form of 21 part-timers,” said Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley.
Kelley says that number is less than one percent of the current airport staff. A TSA spokesperson says they do not comment on staffing levels due to safety precautions, but added that changes to staffing are not permanent. Staff can be increased or decreased depending on the volume of air travel at specific airports across the country.
“Eleven percent of all the daily air traffic originated out of Atlanta so the few individual TSA agents we’re losing will be reassigned to airports like Atlanta, Chicago,” said Matt Zone, representing Ward 15 of Cleveland City Council.
Zone says the change at Hopkins will likely happen in the first or second quarter of the year.
“I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve increased multiple millions of air travelers since United left us as a hub,” he said.
Some flyers expressed concern that the change could impact their safety, while others were more concerned about a decrease in staff leading to a longer check-in.
“I’ve had good experience going though the airport,” said Janet Havener. “I mean, obviously, I’m not happy if there’s going to be long lines and we have to wait.”
“Safety is always a concern but seems to me as though it’s been more than adequately staffed,” said Anne Marie Pecon. “I often see people that might be redundant.”
Kelley believes the staffing change will not impact the safety of travelers.
“This change would not have been suggested if safety were to be compromised,” said Kelley.
Hopkins officials declined further explanation and directed inquiries to the TSA.
A TSA spokesperson confirmed this specific reduction applies to screening staff but said he could not comment as to when the change would begin or what specific airport TSA officer jobs would be relocated.