JACKSON, Wyo. — For the first time in two decades, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has denied the Jackson Hole Airport’s bid to continue its private security screening contract.

In the last 20 years, the Jackson Hole Airport Board has employed security screening officers at the Jackson Hole Airport under the Transporation Security Administration Screening Partnership Program (SPP). The program allows approved airports to opt out of federal security screening, which is usually provided by the TSA, and instead have screening provided by a third-party contractor.

Out of the 22 U.S. airports participating in the SPP, JAC is the only one to employ its security screening officers.

The Airport Board recently rebid the SPP contract for a five-year term beginning in 2023.

“This was a competitive process and included the assessment of the cost to provide security screening service,” said the airport in a statement last night, Dec. 14. “The Airport Board submitted a bid package it thought was fair and reasonable and took into consideration the current labor market in the Jackson area. The Board’s calculations in the application have always included the expense of paying employees a living wage and a robust benefits package providing our community with a stable, well trained and engaged security staff.”

According to the Airport Board, it knowingly applied with a cost higher than that Federal Cost Estimate (FCE) because it knew the true cost of operating and employing staff in Jackson. TSA’s FCE for the bid was lower than the same figure used in the last bid in 2016.

“The Board submitted clear concerns as to why the FCE should be higher than stated in the application and recommended TSA adjust the FCE,” said the airport. “TSA rejected the Board’s application for the first time in two decades because the bid was over the allotted FCE.”

On Dec. 14, the Airport Board was notified that Aviation Security Management (ASM) LLC was awarded the Screening Contract for JAC. ASM will begin providing these services at JAC on April 1, 2023.

“We are extremely proud of the safety, security and level of service our screening team has provided for our community. It is disappointing to know a third party will be managing this function in April of 2023. Our efforts to renew the contract have been exhausted and we sincerely hope ASM recognizes the labor force challenges in this area and will be able to support their staff to the best of their ability while providing the same quality of service,” Bob McLaurin, airport board president said.

Buckrail @ Caroline

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter. She's a lover of alliteration, easy-to-follow recipes and board games when everyone knows the rules. Her favorite aspect about living in the Tetons is the collective admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.