Following a report last week that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was considering eliminating security screenings at small airports around the country, the TSA announced today that it has no plans to actually do so.
In a statement to CBS News, TSA spokespeople admitted that they will not be removing any passenger screenings at U.S. airports, no matter their size or the amount of travelers they serve.
“We remain committed to our mission to protect the Homeland by improving security, safeguarding our transportation system, and ensuring that over 2.5 million airline passengers get to their destinations safely every day,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske told CBS.
The initial report said that the TSA, looking for a way to cut costs and focus its efforts at the nation’s major hubs, may have been considering phasing out smaller airports—those that serve planes 60 seats or fewer—from its network. That move would have reportedly saved the TSA $115 million per year.
According to the CBS report, that proposal was never under serious consideration, instead it was just part of budget discussions that were eventually leaked.
"Reporting on pre-decisional budget exercises is misleading as it doesn't reflect the entire process, and certainly doesn't take into account the dedicated TSA professionals who work tirelessly to assess impact, risk, and feasibility of different scenarios,” Pekoske told CBS.
The TSA is, however, considering a different change at airports. It has recently announced plans to expand testing of a new carry-on bag screening technology that it says could detect the kinds of materials that caused it to issue a ban on liquids and powders earlier this year.
The TSA plans to have 40 of those units in place at 15 U.S. airports by the end of the year and another 100 by the end of 2019.