Rep. Demings Organizes Airport Security Meeting
Tomorrow, Rep. Demings will lead a meeting between major stakeholders in the ongoing discussion about the airport security partnership between the federal government and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA). Rep. Demings has been hands-on for the last three months to prevent the privatization of passenger screening at MCO, and organized tomorrow’s meeting to continue that conversation.
Attending the meeting will be Rep. Val Demings, Senator Bill Nelson, Rep. Darren Soto, Mayor Dyer and other representatives from GOAA, a representative from Senator Rubio's office, representatives from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and representatives from the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).
Said Rep. Demings, “From the beginning, this has been about the safety of the traveling public and the efficiency of the TSA screening process at our airport. Orlando International Airport is a world-class airport that welcomed the highest number of air travelers in Florida last year. As it grows, the federal government must recommit itself to the partnership and support the highest standards of security, efficiency, and customer service.
“I am pleased to see that communication and cooperation between GOAA and TSA have made significant progress towards meeting these high standards, and proud of the work being done behind the scenes by my staff and multiple stakeholders who joined in our effort to save hundreds of federal jobs and ensure a safe and efficient traveling experience for visitors and residents. I believe this cooperation can serve as a model for growing airports across the country.”
Last month, a vote by GOAA had been scheduled to begin the process of privatizing passenger screening at MCO. Rep. Demings met with stakeholders to find an alternative. She and Mayor Dyer organized a 60-day delay—and tomorrow’s meeting—to find an alternate solution.
Tomorrow’s meeting is an opportunity to update all stakeholders on the status of ongoing security improvements, and determine what role Central Florida’s federal representatives can play to help ensure TSA provides the necessary resources for MCO as it continues to grow.
Rep. Demings serves on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, which includes oversight of several airport security programs. She previously served as Commander of the Orlando Police Department’s Airport Division at MCO, and has successfully led congressional efforts to continue federal funding for local law enforcement security operations and TSA staffing to secure exits at our nation’s airports.
In addition to working with GOAA to improve the federal-airport security partnership in Orlando, Rep. Demings has engaged TSA, DHS, Congressional leaders, and the Committee on Homeland Security to seek long-term support for growth at MCO.
Orlando International Airport has experienced significant growth in passenger volume over the past several years to more than 44 million passengers in 2017. To accommodate the growth, GOAA has invested more than $750 million to increase terminal capacity, update security features, and implement cutting edge technology to screen passengers and luggage securely and efficiently. However, space limitations, staffing shortages, and passenger volume have contributed to extended screening wait times generally exceeding 20 minutes.
Amid growing concerns for screening efficiency, while maintaining high customer service standards, GOAA considered applying to the Transportation Security Administration’s Screening Partnership Program.