TSA transitioning security operations at Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport

Security screening will be conducted by federal TSA officers at request of airport board
Local Press Release
Thursday, August 24, 2023

BELGRADE, Montana - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has begun the process to federalize airport security screening operations at Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport (BZN).

Since September 1, 2014, these services have been contracted by TSA to a third party company. TSA has maintained oversight of all operations and required the contractor to meet the same security protocols and standards that are in place at other commercial airports nationwide.

Starting October 8, 2023, travelers departing BZN will be screened by TSA security screening officers employed by the federal government. In mid-July, the Gallatin Airport Authority Board officially requested this change after a unanimous vote by its members.

“Once TSA received the request to federalize security screening operations at BZN, we immediately began working with airport leadership and the contractor currently providing these services to ensure a smooth transition. Our goal is to deliver seamless security operations for residents and visitors departing BZN while ensuring that the employees who will transition to federal employment will be well taken care of,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Montana Kc Wurtsbaugh. “We look forward to maintaining our strong commitment to the community during this transition and providing effective and efficient security operations in the Gallatin Valley.”

TSA is in the process of offering current contract security screening officers the opportunity to remain in their current roles and transition to federal employment with full federal benefits. The benefits include comprehensive health care plans, a generous 401k retirement plan as well as accrual of annual and sick leave. TSA does not prorate benefits and offers full-time benefits for part-time employees.

In addition, TSA officers at BZN will also receive locality pay, retention incentives, overtime pay, other forms of premium pay and be eligible for a variety of cash awards. Once an employee becomes a federal TSA officer, they are eligible to transfer internally to most airports within the United States after a year of employment.

As of today, agency officials have hosted three town hall meetings with current security screening officers at BZN, and will continue to hold these events throughout the remaining time prior to the conversion. The purpose of the town halls is to discuss the transition from contractor to federal employee and to answer questions. Based on a contract employee’s experience and qualifications, some may be eligible for promotions or higher pay. No current screening officer will be paid less than their current hourly rate following the transition to federal employment.

Plans are for TSA to hold additional town hall meetings as the transition to federalization continues over the next several weeks. TSA officials will be available to assist employees during this change.

TSA is in the process of recruiting additional full- and part-time security screening officers to work at BZN as federal employees. Interested individuals can contact Michael Watts with TSA via email at michael.watts@tsa.dhs.gov or by phone at (406) 255-2016 with questions or to request additional information.