Aviation & Transportation Security Act Essay

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Pages: 10


Aviation and Transportation Security Act

The passage of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) in 2001 changed the way the aviation industry operated and how passengers travel. The ATSA forced the US Government and aviation to change its security culture to ensure protection of passengers and employees from future attacks like those that occurred on September 11, 2001. The ATSA was passed and signed into law in direct response to the security vulnerabilities that surfaced during the 9/11 attacks. This paper will demonstrate how the ATSA affected how US Government agencies and aviation industry upgraded security processes in an effort to prevent terrorists from attacking the US in the future.
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Since its enactment, the ATSA limited screening to uniformed, licensed government TSA agents. Airlines remained primarily responsible for matching all checked luggage with passengers on connecting flights. Baggage is not loaded onto a plane unless the passenger also boards the flight. If passengers switch flights, then the airlines are not required to recheck the baggage once passengers board other flights before the baggage can be loaded. This FAA rule was enacted to prevent unnecessary flight delays and airline liability for security breaches.
Congress continues to try to revamp the ATSA by adding to airport security regulations. Legislators, through ATSA amendments, directed the TSA to develop procedures to conduct all airfreight inspections, perform intensive background checks on foreign flight school students, and impose a six-month ban on small planes flying over major public events. Since the ATSA became law, TSA hired more licensed uniformed personnel to tighten airport security. Approximately 32,000 security screeners have been placed into the system operating new screening equipment enforcing ATSA security mandates (GAO, 2008). These employees are trained, tested and certified regularly across the country and receive official certifications.
After the 9/11 Commission final report was released in 2004 it was determined that ineffective screening did not play a major role in the September 11