Fed security starting
at Honolulu Airport

By Nelson Daranciang

Transportation Security Administration employees will begin taking over passenger screening at Honolulu Airport tomorrow, said TSA Honolulu Airport Director Sidney Hayakawa.

Fifty-nine screeners, lead screeners and supervisory screeners began their required 40 hours of classroom training last week. That will be followed by 60 hours of on-the-job training.

Eventually, 600 people will be hired and phased in for airport checkpoint, gate and baggage screening statewide.

The congressional deadline to replace private screeners with federal workers at the nation's 429 airports is Nov. 19.

The Wackenhut Corp. and International Total Services now handle the screening functions at Honolulu Airport under a month-to-month agreement with the TSA.

ITS has 374 employees assigned to the international terminal. Wackenhut has 150 employees assigned to the interisland terminal. Those who have applied for TSA jobs will be the last to undergo employment assessment.

"What we like to do is to keep current screeners on the job so that we have a stable work force in place. If they pass the screening, they are guaranteed a position," said David Steigman, Transportation Security Administration spokesman in Washington, D.C.

With the change to TSA, Maui airport official Jon Sakamoto said he expects a shift in personnel and longer lines.

"Every airport I know is gearing up for longer processing time," said Sakamoto, the Maui district airports administrator for the state.

Sakamoto said security personnel have been screening baggage but not at the 100-percent level anticipated under the TSA. He said federal officials have been interviewing and testing prospective security employees at resort sites in South and West Maui.

The 150 employees at Honolulu Airport represent about 20 percent of Wackenhut's work force on Oahu. Those who are not hired by TSA face layoff, said Joe Tillotson, Wackenhut operations manager.

"Obviously, we're going to lose a large part of our business," he said.

Job seekers may apply online at or by phone at 877-631-5672. The minimum requirements are U.S. citizenship and a high school diploma or equivalent, or at least one year of full-time experience.

Transportation Security Administration

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