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DFW Airport hopes to have more TSA agents this summer

Passengers enter the DFW Airport checkpoint in Terminal in 2016.
Passengers enter the DFW Airport checkpoint in Terminal in 2016. Star-Telegram

Dallas/Fort Worth Airport hopes to get more TSA agents to staff security checkpoints during the busy upcoming summer travel season.

“We’re going to fight for every piece of manpower we can get,” airport chief executive Sean Donohue said on Thursday following DFW Airport’s monthly board meeting. “At the end of the day, our focus is making sure people are secure and safe, and the experience is a positive one at DFW.”

Average wait times at security checkpoints at DFW range from five to 15 minutes, Donohue said. Unlike airports in Las Vegas and Orlando where there is only one or two security checkpoints, DFW has 15, which helps mitigate long lines.

However, if a customer is going through security during a peak travel time, such as in the afternoon in Terminal D when international passengers are connecting to other flights, the wait can be more than 30 minutes.

“If you walk up and it looks busy and really crowded, that adds anxiety for the customer,” he said.

The airport is considering posting wait times on its mobile app and website to help customers find checkpoints with the shortest lines.

Donohue said he is confident that the airport will be allocated additional staffing if it is approved.

Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the TSA planned to increase staffing at the busiest airports, expand efforts to enroll more passengers in TSA Pre-Check and work with airports to take over nonsecurity related operations.

“As we look ahead to the surge in summer travel, we will continue to consider a number of other steps to ensure enhanced aviation security while also maximizing efficiency at check points,” Johnson said.

DFW Airport staff could take over K-9 operations or the moving of bins used to pass personal bags and items through screening machines, Donohue said.

DFW is working with the TSA to discuss how the airport can help address staffing.

“Whatever we can do to free up their resources, we’re going to do it,” Donohue said.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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