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Garda wants U.S. to change airport screening model

June 18, 2012, Montreal - Garda World wants to convince Washington to imitate Canada by giving private security companies  control of screening at airports.


June 18, 2012
By The Canadian Press

In the United States, the job is generally performed by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees, while in Canada the work is subcontracted to companies like Garda, the industry leader in airport pre-clearance screening.

At its annual meeting on Friday, Garda CEO Stephan Cretier criticized the TSA, pointing to a House of Representatives committee report published last November that concluded the federal agency was
ineffective as at least 25,000 security breaches have taken place in the 10 years since it was launched.

Several legislators, primarily Republicans, have demanded that the TSA's activities be partially privatized.

Seeing a potential business opportunity, Garda has started to lobby to sell the merits of the "Canadian model.''

However, a 2009 report by the Government Accountability Office said screening costs are nine to 17 per cent higher when done by private firms instead of the TSA's 65,000 employees.

Garda estimates that the U.S. airport security clearance market is worth US$3.5 billion a year.

The Montreal-based company hopes to gain its first U.S. airport contract within two years.

The Screening Partnership Program allows American airports to replace TSA agents with private sector employees. Only about a dozen airports have done so thus far, most notably in San Francisco.