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TSA expected to close 1 of MSP's newest security checkpoints to Terminal 1

Updated: October 30, 2019 06:47 PM

One of the newest security checkpoints at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is expected to close.

The TSA informed the airport staff about a week ago, citing staffing concerns.

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The security checkpoint has only been open for a little over a year, and gives travelers direct access from the Intercontinental Hotel to Terminal 1. But, the airport staff isn't too happy with the TSA's decision.

"Staffing at that checkpoint has been so irregular," said Patrick Hogan, a spokesperson for MSP.

Hogan said the TSA has said it'll be shutting down the security checkpoint to Terminal 1 on Nov. 18th due to low staffing levels.

"There was really no talk of it being a temporary closure," Hogan said.

But Hogan insisted that since the new TSA checkpoint opened in August 2018, it's often been closed, and he said when it is open, it's only operational for a few hours in the morning between 5:15 and 10.

"The whole purpose of the hotel beyond just offering a place to sleep at the airport was also to provide additional services to travelers," Hogan said.

Long lines have been big concern for travelers this year, and Hogan believes TSA is, in large part, to blame.

"It's been an ongoing issue with TSA not staffing the checkpoints that we have built and spent considerable money on to make available to the traveling public," Hogan said.

The TSA released a statement saying:

"On a daily basis, TSA collaborates with the airlines and airport staff to maximize the effectiveness of our security checkpoint screening operations at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). While the hotel security checkpoint is used by some travelers, it consistently has significantly lower passenger volume than the other, larger checkpoints in MSP's Terminal 1. 

"TSA will deploy its staffing resources to maximize the efficiency of screening operations to ensure full staffing at the busiest checkpoints at MSP."

Additionally, the TSA said from Saturday, Oct. 19 through Sunday, Oct. 27, 477 travelers were screened through the hotel checkpoint, and on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 37 travelers were screened through the hotel security checkpoint.

Despite these numbers, officials believe closing it isn't the best solution.

"We think the way to enhance security or reduce wait times isn't to close checkpoints, it's to staff them," Hogan said.

Airport officials have asked for a meeting with the TSA administrator in Washington, D.C. to try and change their mind.

A spokesperson for the Intercontinental Hotel is optimistic everything will work out. They believe this is a process and are confident both sides will find a solution.

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Brett Hoffland

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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