TSA awards private screening contract to US Helicopter and McNeil Security under Screening Partnership Program

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National Press Release
Thursday, January 4, 2007

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration today announced the signing of a three-party contract with US Helicopter Corporation and McNeil Security Inc., under the agency’s Screening Partnership Program (SPP) for the establishment of screening operations to support airport shuttle services at the East 34th Street Heliport in Manhattan. 

“TSA remains committed to securing the airspace over New York City,” said Douglas Hofsass, TSA’s federal security director at LaGuardia Airport.  “The new commercial helicopter service from the East 34th Street Heliport will fall under the same security regulations as all commercial flights in the United States.  All passengers, carry-on baggage and checked luggage will be screened to TSA’s standards for commercial aircraft operators.  We look forward to working with US Helicopter and McNeil Security to ensure we continue providing the highest level of security for the traveling public.”

In addition to LaGuardia, Hofsass’ responsibilities include oversight of security operations at the East 34th Street and Downtown Manhattan heliports. 

The SPP was designed to meet requirements established by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 (ATSA).  Under this program, airport operators can request that TSA replace its federal screening personnel with privately contracted security screeners working under federal oversight.

Under today’s unique three-party contract, US Helicopter agreed to provide for and fund all screening personnel at the East 34th Street facility through a contract negotiated with McNeil Security.  TSA will provide security oversight and certified screening equipment to ensure that passengers, their accessible property and checked baggage are thoroughly screened for explosives and other dangerous items prior to departure.  TSA has enacted a Heliport Security Plan, which will ensure that the East 34th Street Heliport, like the Wall Street facility, adheres to all TSA regulatory requirements and applicable security directives.

Six airports currently participate in the SPP, including San Francisco International (Calif.), Kansas City International (Mo.), Greater Rochester International (N.Y.), Jackson Hole Airport (Wyo.), Tupelo Regional (Miss.) and Sioux Falls Regional Airport (S.D.).  McNeil Security has served as the private contractor for security personnel and screening services at Greater Rochester International Airport since 2002.

Please click here for more details on the Screening Partnership Program. For more information on US Helicopter, please visit www.flyush.com.