Salina Regional Airport will be getting back passenger and baggage screening services.
The airport learned Tuesday that the Transportation Security Administration planned to resume those services, according to a letter provided by U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s office.
The April 19 letter from TSA’s Kansas federal security director Jay Brainard said the TSA approved the airport’s request for screening services and they would be restored “at a date to be mutually determined.”
The approval comes more than two weeks after scheduled air service was to resume at the Salina airport. Great Lakes Airlines was to begin providing 12 round-trip flights a week on April 1 from Salina to Denver on a 30-seat Embraer EMB-120 turboprop.
But the Salina airport lost its passenger screening services after SeaPort Airlines, under a federal Essential Air Service contract, began providing the airport’s only scheduled passenger service in April 2012 using nine-seat turboprop aircraft.
Because of SeaPort’s small aircraft, passenger screening services weren’t required by federal law. To complicate matters, SeaPort abruptly ended its nonstop flights from Salina to Kansas City in January and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on Feb. 5.
The federal Transportation Department selected Great Lakes to replace SeaPort in Salina under a new EAS contract. But efforts to start that service have been hampered by Great Lakes’ larger aircraft, which require screening services.
Salina Airport Authority executive director Tim Rogers said Wednesday that he will have a better idea in the next seven to 10 days of when Great Lakes service to Denver will begin. He said the goal for that service to begin would be “soon after June 1.”
The development comes a day after the Senate approved its version of a bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, which included a measure requiring the TSA to provide screening services at some small airports including in Salina.
That measure was sponsored by Moran, R-Kan., and U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler.