Burlington Airport to Get More Screeners

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- The Burlington International Airport will be getting at least a dozen new Transportation Security Administration screeners.

Burlington's increase is not in response to any threat or security weakness, TSA officials said. Rather, the administration annually reapportions its 45,000 screeners among the country's 450 commercial airports. Some airports gain screeners while others lose them, said TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis.

This year's TSA plan allows the Vermont airport to expand from 61 to 73 full-time screeners, or an equivalent mix of full- and part-time employees.

Increasing passenger traffic at Burlington International created a need for additional screeners, said Bruce McDonald, federal security director for Burlington and Rutland.

The workers staff checkpoints between the public terminal and the more-restricted gate sections of the airport, and they screen checked luggage.

''As the airlines grow, we grow with them,'' McDonald said. ''We need the help. Burlington is growing rapidly. We're just trying to catch up at this point.''

An expected 724,000 passengers are expected to board flights at Burlington International in 2005, McDonald said. That number represents a 14 percent increase from 2004's record high of 635,000.

The TSA has begun hiring the new screeners, advertising for part-time workers starting at $11.30 per hour.

There are 71 screeners on staff at Burlington International, which equals 67 full-time employees, McDonald said. That means positions are available for as many as 12 more part-time security employees.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press