TSA to shut down security checkpoint at Atlanta airport for upgrades

ATLANTA — If you’re heading to the airport on Wednesday, you might want to pack your patience.

Channel 2 Action News has learned that the TSA will close the south security checkpoint for a redesign to speed the screening process.

Passengers should expect long lines.

Critics told Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant that they aren't convinced it will work.

"It's too much for me," said passenger Renee Sanks.

"I've been flying out of this airport for 30 years and (I've) never seen anything like this," passenger Bob Newsome told Diamant.

After countless complaints, relief may soon be on the way for thousands of passengers who deal daily with epic wait times at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport security checkpoints.

"We're looking forward to it. We're encouraged by this. It's a good step forward," said airport spokesman Reese McCranie.

The TSA will shut down the south security checkpoint Wednesday evening and then reconstruct it over the next three weeks, with new technology designed to speed up the screening process.

"We're in a wait-and-see approach. We're going to see how the pilot program runs," McCranie said.

The first-in-the-nation test run comes less than three months after Channel 2 Action News broke the news that the airport's general manager threatened to privatize the checkpoints if TSA didn't do something about the wait times.

"It was a strong message, but it was warranted in the end," McCranie told Diamant.

And while airport leaders have high hopes for the high-tech checkpoint, TSA union leaders aren't convinced.

"I don't think that they are addressing the real issue," said AFGE National Vice President Everett Kelley. "I can't stress enough the problem is personnel, and until they hire enough officers to perform the task that they have to do every day, we are going to still have the same problem."