Passenger Numbers Down, But Worker Ranks Remain Steady
The airlines are cutting back,
airplane manufacturers are cutting back, and there's even talk of
delaying NASA's constellation program. But there's one corner of
the transportation industry that's continuing full-steam ahead,
regardless of the economy.
If you couldn't guess, it's the US Transportation Security
In Mississippi, the Hattiesburg American newspaper studied the
correlation between airline passenger traffic and security staffing
around the state. It reports Mississippi's seven major airports saw
an overall decline of about 23,000 passenger emplanements from
January through the end of November, representing a drop of about
two percent for the first 11 months of last year.
But Sari Koshetz, a spokeswoman in the Miami office of the
Transportation Security Administration, told the paper, quote -
"There are no plans for reducing our staff."
She added that there's more to the TSA than what we see at
airports. About 50,000 agency employees patrol and control the
nation's transportation systems and training programs, and
supervise grant applications.
"Air, land and sea," Koshetz said. "We're pretty much anything
that has to do with transportation."
Koshetz declined to mention the exact number of security
officers working at airports, citing security reasons.
Those employees will have lighter duty for a while. According to
the US Department of Transportation, domestic airline passenger
counts were down 1.5 percent for the first five months of 2008,
compared to the same period in 2007. For the first seven months of
last year, the number of flights was down 2.1 percent.
Has anybody noticed the lines getting any shorter?