MAC rebukes TSA over closure of hotel checkpoint: 'We will not rest until we are treated fairly'

Board approves measure to continue to pressure TSA

Sloane Martin
November 18, 2019 - 4:28 pm

Entercom

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The board of the Metropolitan Airports Commission is publicly rebuking TSA for pulling the funding to staff an airport security checkpoint.

The MAC and private partners spent "tens of millions" on security infrastructure including a skyway connecting the Intercontinental Hotel and Terminal 1. The hotel was built expressly for its proximity.

"I can't overemphasize the importance of that checkpoint," Jim Graves with Graves Hospitality, which operates the hotel, said at Monday's MAC Board meeting. "It's the reason for the location of the hotel. It's the reason for the hotel being built for what we call extreme convenience for the traveling public."

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MAC Chair Rick King strongly criticized TSA for not holding up "its end of the bargain," adding, "We will not rest until we are treated fairly." The board approved a measure to continue to pressure TSA and express outrage over the decision.

In a statement, TSA said usage was too low to justify keeping the hotel security checkpoint open. Between Saturday, Oct. 19 through Sunday, Oct. 27, 477 travelers were screened; on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 37 travelers went through.

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

MAC officials said they believed word of mouth would spread and the usage would increase. The checkpoint opened in August 2018.

The Thanksgiving travel weekend is fast approaching where more than 40,000 people expected to be screened that Wednesday.

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