Airport losing TSA items

VIENNA — The Transportation Security Administration is relocating its equipment from the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport to other sites throughout the country where it is needed most.

In fact, some of the unused TSA equipment, including the full body scanners used to screen passengers, will end up in New Orleans.

“This happens quite often,” John Moliterno, executive director of the Western Reserve Port Authority, said Wednesday. “We’ve been less busy, so we have less of a need for this equipment and a lot of airports don’t have (full body scanners). It’ll go to a busier airport that has more of a need for it.”

Mark Howell, a TSA regional spokesman for eight states including Ohio, confirmed the equipment is being relocated, including some to New Orleans, but he noted the location always is subject to change.

Howell was not aware of a timeline involved in removing TSA equipment, stating there’s an “indication of a need” first and then the process of removal takes place.

Moliterno said he is unsure exactly what other pieces of equipment will be removed, stating he anticipates a meeting today with a local TSA official may shed more light on the subject. But conversation with the TSA about moving equipment has been going on for a while, he said.

“This is TSA equipment, not ours,” said Moliterno. “We knew for well over a year that the equipment will move if it is needed elsewhere. This is not new.”

The equipment removal is the result of Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport being “defederalized,” Howell said, as no commercial flights have occurred there in 14 months with the departure of Allegiant Air in January 2018.

The airport and the WRPA have continued to meet with commerical airlines and charter companies about utilizing the regional airport and once they secure a contract for commercial service, Moliterno said they’ll reapply to have TSA equipment returned to the local airport.