Rochester Airport and TSA prepare for busy and hectic summer season

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – If you’ve got a summer trip planned and you need to fly, brace yourself.

Earlier this week, News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke showed us how a surge in demand coupled with a pilot shortage and some wild weather has led to thousands of flight delays and cancellations over the last few weekends. Now, she’s talking with TSA’s Federal Security Director about the staffing shortages that the agency has been facing too and whether it’ll impact your travel plans.

Since the start of the year, passengers have been experiencing delays and cancellations not just here in Rochester but in many connecting cities. There are far fewer flights available because of these pilot shortages which means if yours is still on, the last thing you want to do is miss it because you’re stuck in the security line.

Just like other industries, “it is very, very challenging to hire and we’re always hiring,” explains Bart Johnson, the Federal Security Director.

The good news locally is that the TSA contractor that handles security at the Rochester International Airport has had some luck. "They’re actually leaning forward and we’re doing pretty well,” explains Johnson. “There are six individuals here today that are new hires for VMD.”

That’s not the case at all airports though so if you’re looking to return home to Rochester from a bigger airport, you may run into some issues. “We have a national deployment force that supplements certain airports where they are having those significant challenges,” says Johnson.

As for how long it’ll take you to get through the security checkpoints. "If an individual waits, you know for 20 minutes and that’s really where we’re staffed at as an organization is just it is to try to keep it below 20 minutes, that’s not unreasonable,” John says.

The busiest times at the security checkpoint are from 4 to 6 a.m., 10 a.m. to noon, and from 4 to 6 p.m. The busiest travel days are Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.

If you’re unsure whether you can bring a particular item in your carry-on bag, you can get more information here.

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