Tampa Airport Director Doesn't Welcome New TSA Security Plan

Dec. 9--TAMPA -- Tampa International Airport Director Louis Miller said Friday he does not support trying a federal pilot program to allow visitors beyond airport security checkpoints.

USA Today reported Friday that the Transportation Security Administration might consider loosening restrictions to allow airport visitors to pass through checkpoints to meet passengers at aircraft gates and shop in those areas.

Only ticketed passengers have had access to areas beyond airport security checkpoints since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The TSA is conducting a test program at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and will begin one next week at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport that gives visitors access to secure areas.

Miller said he would not support the concept at Tampa International, where TSA security guards at the main terminal checkpoints restrict airside terminal access to ticketed passengers.

"There is no reason for it," Miller said.

"There is plenty of food and beverage and shopping available on both sides of security," he said.

Also, screening visitors could lengthen security lines, Miller said.

At some airports, such as Philadelphia's, the majority of the concessions are beyond the initial security checkpoint.

That means visitors have far less access to shops than passengers, a situation that has cut into those airports' revenue.

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