The world’s busiest airport just told the TSA to shape up or get out

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest in the world and its fed up with the US Transportation Safety Administration (TSA).

The airport is now telling the TSA to shape up or be prepared to be replaced by private security.

Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Miguel Southwell sent a letter to TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger, in which he explained that the airport’s security screening checkpoints are woefully understaffed with no hopes for improvement in the near future.

The letter, obtained from a source by Aaron Diamant of Atlanta’s WSB-TV, was dated February 12.

Southwell says a lack of staffing at TSA checkpoints have increased wait times by over half an hour.

Under the TSA’s Screening Partnership Program, the airport has the right to bring in private security.

“Several times throughout the day from May to October 2015, wait times (at TSA checkpoints) exceeding 35 minutes were not uncommon,” Southwell wrote. “This is unacceptable as reflected in the customer service surveys of our hub carrier Delta Air Lines.”

“This morning as I write this letter, wait times up to 52 minutes were experienced between 6:00 am and 6:30 am,” he added.

Those wait times were despite a 7.5% staffing increase by the TSA last year. Southwell says that increase was “late and inadequate.”

In 2015 the airport experienced a 10% increase over 2014 numbers, when 96 million passengers travelled through the airport.

In the letter Southwell claims that traffic jumped another 14% in the first quarter of this fiscal year which has it “dreading the outcome of 2016.”

Instead of hiring at a faster rate, the TSA has worked to promote expedited security programs like TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry while also introducing new technology that is meant to speed up the security check process.

“Even with all of our efforts, however, as the airport’s experience demonstrates, things appear to be only getting worse,” Southwell added.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport officials are not providing further information at this time.

You can read the full letter on

Written by John Howard

John Howard

John Howard is the Business Editor at He is an avid watcher of markets, a wallflower of retail, and a fan of disruptive businesses that utilize technology and unique ideas to form brilliant new ways of doing business.