Transportation Security Administration operations at the Birmingham International Airport will be consolidated into one location at the airport beginning Jan. 1.
TSA's offices will move to space under one of the concourses, Mary Mindingall, the airport's properties and administration director, said Monday. The federal agency responsible for air travel security currently has offices behind a vacant ticket counter and in lounge space that Delta Air Lines had used as a perk for customers.
''We are in the process of developing new space for them,'' Mindingall told the Birmingham Airport Authority, which authorized Monday a five-year lease with TSA that becomes effective Jan. 1. The board also gave approval for Chairman Gaynelle Hendricks to sign a two-month lease that extends the current pact that ends Oct. 31 by two months to Dec. 31.
After two years, TSA and the airport will have rights to terminate the contract.
The new space for TSA will be smaller than its combined locations, which total 4,440 square feet. Mindingall said TSA will have 3,835 square feet.
Mindingall added that TSA will not be in the way of the project the authority is developing to modernize the terminal.
In September 2002, more than 100 federal employees hired to screen the airport's passengers and baggage began on-the-job training, a day before the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks that led to their hirings.
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About 1,000 passengers pass through security at the airport each day. About 300 of them flow through the area from 5 a.m. to 6:15 a.m., and can end up waiting for around 15 minutes.
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