Screening Partnership Program

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Since 2004, all federalized airports are eligible to apply to the Screening Partnership Program. The Screening Partnership Program contracts with qualified screening vendors to provide private security screening under TSA oversight at airports nationwide. There are a total of 22 airports that participate in the Screening Partnership Program.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 set the standards for processing Screening Partnership Program applications. The Act directs TSA to approve an airport operator’s application to participate in the Screening Partnership Program if approval will not compromise security, detrimentally affect cost efficiency, or detrimentally affect the screening effectiveness of passengers or property at the airport.

How to Apply

  1. Interested airport operators must submit an application to their local federal security director. Application information can be found under the “For Industry” section on tsa.gov.
  2. Applicants will receive a notification of application status within 60 days. Once an airport operator application is approved, the procurement and the award process can take approximately up to 120 days.
  3. After a contract is awarded, transition into the program may take up to 120 days, as practicable based on airport size

Important Details

Screening DCA airport
  • The screening vendor works for TSA and not the airport authority.
  • The Federal Security Director remains in charge of security, incident management, and stakeholder relations.
  • TSA monitors vendor performance not vendor staffing levels.
  • Private screening vendors must comply with all TSA Standard Operating Procedures, policies, guidelines, enhanced pat-down protocol and the use of Advanced Imaging Technology.
  • Private screening vendors must use TSA provided screening technologies and cannot use their own.
  • Wait times* are the same whether an airport is privatized or federalized.

* Passenger volume has increased at most large airports. However, the time during which passenger volume increases can impact wait times. If passenger volume increases during non-peak periods, instead of peak periods, then there is a minimal effect on wait times.

Private security screening companies are subject to the same hiring restrictions and challenges as the federal government. Contract security screening candidates receive the same security background and medical checks as prospective federal transportation security officers.

Last Updated on May 19, 2021 

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