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Sunday, December 3rd, 2023

Sen. Wicker seeks enhanced Mississippi airport security

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Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) is seeking federal assurances designed to enhance security and efficiency at the state’s airports.

The senator recently participated in a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing and used the forum to address concerns with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator David Pekoske.

Wicker referenced the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport’s $1.5 million expansion project, which added an additional screening lane in each concourse, as a means of preventing long wait times during peak hours while making TSA PreCheck available at the state’s largest airport.

“Here’s our problem. We don’t have an assurance from your agency that they will staff and provide the necessary resources for these additional lanes.” Wicker, who also raised concerns about the numeric formula used by TSA in determining when to remove baggage screening equipment, said to Pekoske.

The TSA Administrator responded, “Yes, I can absolutely commit to working with you on that.”

Wicker said removal of baggage screening equipment could deter carriers from servicing Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport and other small and medium-sized airports. The senator has previously worked with the TSA to prevent the removal of three of Gulfport-Biloxi’s six baggage scanners.

Pekoske told Wicker other factors would be considered in the decision to remove screening equipment, such as history, costs, and building design, noting he would personally ensure the agency is working with local airports in Mississippi.