The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has recognized the TSA team in Miami with its top agency honor, naming Miami International Airport as Airport of the Year for 2020. This is the second time that Miami International has received this honor.
“The Airport of the Year award is one that is emblematic of the entire airport community,” said Miami Federal Security Director Dan Ronan. “Even though the award is for the TSA Miami workforce, we could not have received that recognition if it were not for the incredible partnerships we have with Miami-Dade Aviation Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, Miami-Dade Fire Department, Customs and Border Protection and the airlines.”
TSA MIA faced a year of challenges: preparing for and responding to the increased and record-breaking passenger loads during the 2019 holidays and after the Super Bowl; installation of and training on new technology equipment, including 10 Computed Tomography machines (CTs), Credential Authentication Technology machines at every checkpoint, and new robotic baggage movers incorporated into a new in-line screening system; and the worldwide pandemic.
TSA Miami flawlessly completed the transition and achieved full operational capability in a new South/Central in-Line project - one of the largest in TSA history. The new $324million state-of-the-art, fully automated, baggage handling system features 102 mobile inspection tables (MIT) – one of the world's largest airport installations of automated guided vehicle (AGV) technology. The new facility doubles the speed and capacity of the previous system.
TSA MIA's Screening efforts also received accolades in the annual JD Power survey of airports and TSA MIA's partnership with the airport resulted in MIA being one of two airports to receive Airports Council International’s accreditation for COVID-19 control measures.
Other special efforts by TSA Miami included “boot camp” immersion training created for officers promoted into roles with more responsibility to bring them up to speed rapidly and additional training and deployment opportunities for the MIA-based TSA K9 teams. TSA K9 teams helped secure the Super Bowl and Homestead NASCAR racing.
MIA's Transportation Security Explosives team trained 855 TSA and stakeholder personnel through classroom instruction, covert drills and shift briefings and trained with local LEOs for bomb prevention and response. During the pandemic, TSA MIA worked with all partners to meet the challenges of keeping passengers and employees across the realm of aviation safe. Acrylic barriers were installed along with other elements to keep the checkpoint experience as touchless as possible.
“The success of the entire operation, while meeting challenges well above and beyond normal years,” said Ronan, “reflects the dedication and sincere commitment that the entire TSA MIA team has toward each other and the TSA mission.”
Although in previous years only one airport was named as the TSA Airport of the Year, this year three other airports were also recognized with the accolade: George Bush International Airport in Houston, Eugene Airport in Oregon and Akron-Canton Airport in Ohio.
The TSA each year also recognizes individuals for excellence while carrying out the agency’s security mission. TSA MIA Transportation Security Manager (TSM) Breanna Dryden received the National TSA Honorary Award for Manager of the Year. “The award appropriately reflects the efforts TSM Dryden displayed in fostering critical agency goals in the areas of threat detection, TSA Coordination Center operations, and workforce engagement,” said Ronan.
TSA’s honorary awards are announced annually. Employees are encouraged to nominate colleagues whose work in the past year was extraordinary and supported the agency’s strategic goals. Due to COVID-19, the awards were announced virtually by TSA Administrator David Pekoske from agency headquarters in Springfield, Virginia.