A recent government report finds the Transportation Security Administration does not properly manage the maintenance of its airport screening equipment.
A May 6 U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report cites the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) failure to properly oversee airport screening equipment – jeopardizing airline passengers’ and planes’ safety.
The audit says the TSA does not adequately manage equipment maintenance and cannot verify that routine preventative maintenance is even performed or that equipment is repaired and ready for use.
“If the equipment is not fully operational, TSA may have to use other screening measures, which could result in longer wait time and delays in passenger and baggage screening,” the report says. “More importantly, our prior work on airport passenger and baggage screening demonstrated that these other measures may be less effective at detecting dangerous items.”
The TSA uses more than 9,000 pieces of checkpoint and checked-baggage screening equipment to check 1.8 million passengers and 1.2 million checked bags at 450 airports every day.
The TSA currently employs four maintenance contractors, charged with both preventive and corrective maintenance, with deals valued at $1.2 billion dollars. The agency reported spending $251 million on screening equipment maintenance in fiscal 2014.
The report recommends the TSA develop a three-tier policy and procedure plan which includes:
- A preventative maintenance validation process that confirms contractors’ completion of routine maintenance.
- Verification and documentation that contractors complete corrective maintenance.
- Noncompliance penalties when preventative or corrective maintenance is not complete.
Read the full report here.