PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERS FOR AIRPORT SECURITY
There is overwhelming evidence that highly professional public-
private partnerships work in high-threat European countries, says
Kenneth P. Quinn, former chief counsel to the Federal Aviation
The European system compares favorably to the unfunded mandate to
provide security at airports that is put on American airlines,
o There, the screening workforce is about 15 percent public
and 85 percent private, and wages are often 60 percent
higher -- here, wages are too low.
o There, turnover is around 15 percent; here, it often
exceeds 100 percent.
o There, national governments impose strict training, with
36 hours' classroom time and up to 200 hours' airport
training -- here, we require 12 hours' classroom and only
40 hours' on-the-job training.
There, proof of European Union member-state citizenship is often
required of workers. Here, resident-alien status suffices.
There, federal governments license the companies and their
workers. Here, all security responsibilities fall on carriers,
with no federal certification.
Disparaging and certainly nationalizing the private workforce at
U.S. airports -- which by all accounts performed properly on
Sept. 11 -- will cause the current system of contract workers to
break down, as workers look for new jobs or transfer to more
President Bush has asked Congress not to tie his hands by
preventing him from turning to the private sector, saying:
"Giving the government flexibility to use private contractors
will facilitate transition to the new system, promote better
screening services through competition, and ensure that security
managers can move swiftly to discipline or remove employees who
fail to live up to the rigorous new standards."
Source: Kenneth P. Quinn, "Nationalization won't work," USA
Today, October 26, 2001.
Gary T. Schoen, CFA
Frontier Investment Management Co.
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