[Archive Home][Date Prev][Date Next][Index]
"Airport security companies lobby to keep jobs"
Saturday, October 27, 2001
Airport security companies lobby to keep jobs
BY LAURA LITVAN
WASHINGTON -- A new trade association was born less than 48 hours after
hijackers slammed airplanes into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. It
represents newcomers to Washington's lobbying scene -- airport security
companies that suddenly faced a federal takeover of their business.
Securitas AB of Stockholm, Securicor PLC of London, and ICTS
International NV of the Netherlands together control about 60 percent of
the market for U.S. airport security screening. They formed the Aviation
Security Association to lobby against legislation that would transfer
many of the 28,000 airport screening jobs to the federal government. At
stake is more than $450 million in annual revenue the three companies
get from their airport screening business, the group says.
Securitas AB is the parent of Globe Aviation Services Corp. of Irving,
Texas, which employs the screeners at Minneapolis-St. Paul International
"We've been burning the shoe leather and getting to as many members as
possible," said Kenneth Quinn, a former Federal Aviation Administration
chief counsel who was hired to represent the new association and
Securicor's Argenbright Security.
Quinn, a lobbyist with Pillsbury Winthrop LLP, said he has met
personally with about 75 lawmakers since the Sept. 11 attacks, often
bringing along top executives of the three companies. They're making the
case that Congress can boost federal oversight of airport security
screening while keeping much of the work within the private sector.
That's the approach used in most European countries.
House Republican leaders have adopted that argument as they fight
against a Senate airport security bill that, they say, would
unnecessarily expand the federal workforce.
The three companies have increased their presence in the United States
since 1999 through acquisitions, and much of their U.S. airport revenue
may be lost, depending on the final legislation. All three have come
under fire because their subsidiaries manned the checkpoints in Boston,
Newark and suburban Virginia from which the four planes were hijacked on
As they make the rounds on Capitol Hill, the industry's lobbyists are
arguing that the limitations of the current system won't be fixed by
making screeners government workers. They say that it would be less
bureaucratic and costly to have a mixture, with some private employees
working alongside federal screeners. They say that a breakdown of
security screening did not cause last month's attacks because the
hijackers boarded planes with box-cutter knives that were not contraband
under FAA rules.
The airlines don't have a position on whether federal or private
employees should staff security checkpoints, said Michael Wascom,
spokesman for the Air Transport Association, which represents most U.S.
"We're not law enforcement agencies, we're private companies in the
business of transporting people and cargo," he said.
Securitas, the world's biggest provider of security services, now gets
half its sales in the United States and controls about a fifth of the
U.S. market for security.
The Senate earlier this month approved, 100-0, a measure requiring
federal employees to man security checkpoints at the 142 largest of the
nation's 420 commercial passenger airports. In the House, lawmakers may
choose next week between a Democratic bill federalizing all or most of
the jobs and a rival Republican bill that expands federal oversight and
lets President Bush decide how many jobs will be in the public sector.
A rival bill favored by House Democratic leaders and some Republicans
puts all the jobs in federal hands.
Aviation security firms have a powerful ally in Representative Tom DeLay
of Texas, the No. 3 House Republican. He has pushed the White House to
maintain its support for keeping the jobs in private hands.
Do you have an opinion about this story?
Share it with other readers in our CAA Discussion Forums
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
If you have any queries regarding this issue, please Email us at email@example.com