MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Just as the busy holiday travel season is set to begin, the TSA is closing down one of the security checkpoints at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The Transportation Security Administration says the new checkpoint at the Intercontinental Hotel is not used enough to support staffing demands, but at a Metropolitan Airports Commission meeting on Monday, commissioners fired back. They say the TSA gave its word the checkpoint would remain open.

After spending $24 million to connect the new Intercontinental Hotel to MSP Airport security, a critical link is suddenly closed, and the Metropolitan Airports Commission is fuming mad.

In July 2018, the airport’s new Intercontinental Hotel opened doors. A major asset was a new skyway security checkpoint, convenient to both hotel guests and the traveling public.

On Monday, TSA federal security director Cliff Van Leuven updated holiday travel plans, but not the closure.

“TSA staffing will be good for the holidays. We’ve submitted a plan to TSA headquarters,” Van Leuven said.

Metropolitan Airports Commission Chair Rick King said understaffing is not the issue, because TSA actually has 30 more people than is authorized.

“Now we’re above the authorized staff levels and we know that efficient scheduling can cover all these checkpoints,” King said.

TSA says the checkpoint is under-used. MAC says it would gain more travelers if it was consistently open and they could market it to the general public. The closure is critical to a hotel built for traveler convenience.

“Having the intercontinental closed, open, and now closed again, the situation with the checkpoint is causing a lot of hardship on the hotel and confusing our guests,” hotel owner Jim Graves said.

And one less option for the traveling public hoping to avoid long security lines.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission executive director Brian Rykes hopes to change the decision. He has a face-to-face meeting with TSA administrator David Pelosi on Thursday.

Bill Hudson

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