Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport may hire contract security screeners www.privateofficer.com
The airport board voted unanimously to move forward with trying to get private security Thursday afternoon.
Now that the board has decided to apply for privatized security, the TSA has 120 days to respond to their request. If they decide to okay the board’s application, Airport Director Brian Sprenger hopes that sometime next summer the privatized security will go into effect.
“I think we do better training. I think we emphasize customer service better. We’re smaller and more flexible than TSA,” said Gerry Berry, President of Covenant Aviation Security. Berry’s aviation security company is based in Anaconda and is interested in the private security job. Covenant Aviation Security already runs the security at San Francisco International Airport, the largest airport in the Screening Partnership Program, or SPP.
“I think it’s very hard for TSA to be a provider while they regulate themselves. I think that’s one of the issues. They are certainly going to regulate us; they do a good job at that,” said Berry.
A TSA spokesperson tells us the security standards at a federalized airport and privatized airport are identical and will remain that way.
“On the private side, they have the ability to respond quicker to changes in the airport environment, personnel needs, airline flight schedule changes, and they’re also able to address issues a lot quicker than the federal bureaucracy can,” said Sprenger.
He emphasizes the differences will be not in what the passengers are asked to do, but in how they are treated, “we’re looking at private security primarily to enhance the experience at our airport to ensure that we have good security but also good customer service at the same time.”
Sixteen commercial airports of the 450 in the United States are part of the SPP and seven of those 16 are in Montana.