TSA steps in for private security at Punta Gorda Airport

A small airport normally has its own security, but two private contractors are currently in legal limbo. Charlotte County is home to one of just a few airports in the nation that contracts security screening services to private companies.

However, security at the Punta Gorda Airport is looking different. WINK News exclusively confirmed temporary TSA agents are keeping the airport operating Sunday.

“I don’t like the fact that two people are fighting over something,” said. “I don’t like to be involved in their issues.”

The federal agents are coming in during this fight from airports across the state. This after already being spread thin following the longest government shutdown in history.

Fresh off working 35 days without pay, TSA agents are now staying in hotels to keep the Punta Gorda Airport open.

“Somebody’s going to get affected,” traveler James Marshall Thomas said. “And usually that’s the people flying

Flights would grind to a halt without proper airport security.

“I noticed all the TSA,” traveler Lee Marks said. “We want to know what was going on.”

At most airports, it’s always bright blue TSA uniforms lining the security checkpoint. In Punta Gorda, it’s a bizarre sight.

“It’s close, and it’s clean,” Thomas said. “And it’s inexpensive it’s no-frills kind of.”

That’s why people come here because it’s small accessible and friendly, but a legal battle between two private companies over who will get the contract for the airport got feisty, according to TSA.

“I’s going to get more dog-eat-dog probably,” Marks said. “As things go on, I’m sure companies want to keep their own existence.”

The federal court got dragged in, and now TSA workers from all over are holding down the fort.

“It’s got to be tough on the TSA agents and their families to be out here,” Marks said.

This will remain until the private companies resolve their fight.

“So I think they probably rectify the problem soon, one would hope,” Marks said.

There have been no delays or cancellations at the airport since TSA stepped in.

“That I can appreciate you know,” Thomas said. “Because then they’re paying more attention to the consumer or the people who are flying.”

WINK News reached out to companies involved, but neither have commented.

We must note the private security must maintain the same standards as TSA.

Reporter:Anika Henanger
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