Missouri TSA Director calls for security changes at KCI

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Missouri’s Federal Security Director sent a letter to Kansas City International Airport's Director calling for security changes.

“Simply put, facility designs from 1972 do not affectively (sic) serve the security needs of the 21st century,” James Spriggs said.

The letter criticizes the airport’s system of eight separate checkpoints where passengers can’t move between all gate areas, and TSA can’t cross-utilize checkpoints, leading to backups.

However, many passengers like KCI's convenience, and question whether fewer, larger checkpoints would actually expedite things.

“Literally this is the easiest airport to get in and out of, because there’s security at each terminal and you can get in and out of it easier,” Christy Higgins said.

“It’s by each gate and each flight and it’s not every person in the same line, trying to determine whose flight is next and who has priority, I’ve been through situations where it’s just chaos,” Leslie Slaughter said.

Another problem, according to the letter, the lack of TSA Pre-Check programs, we found just two airlines offering it. The Federal Security Director says “this lack of access to trusted traveler programs and reduced screening capability may affect the viability of (KCI) as a world-class aviation facility.”

What they want is better baggage screening and consolidated checkpoints. TSA says it would improve efficiency by as much as 20 percent.

Would it make things safer? The letter says they are planning a comprehensive vulnerability assessment to see which areas of the airport and security need immediate attention.

“It’s just one more thing, if it could keep us safe, I guess we’ll have to go for it,” passenger Michelle Willis said.

The single terminal plan requested by the airlines would have likely accomplished many of TSA's calls for change. City leaders decided this summer not to put the plan on the ballot.

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