PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A bag-screening issue caused major delays at Sky Harbor Airport on Thursday. And even before the debacle the airport was looking into getting rid of the TSA and hiring private contractors.
TSA says the issue is a technical one with a computer server that is used to check bags for explosives. The issue began at 6:45 a.m. Thursday. By 9 p.m. Thursday evening Phoenix Sky Harbor officials say the screening system was back operational.
The issue has caused over 3,000 bags to miss their flights leaving many passengers flying without their baggage.
A spokesperson with Sky Harbor tells FOX 10 that they are having a TSA bag-screening issue. They have started using their back-up screening, however, this is a much slower process, which is causing delays. Additional canine units from other airports and computer network technicians are being brought in to fix the problem.
The back-up process involves checking in bags by hand and with K-9's.
There are no major flight delays, but some travelers checking in have been told that there is a chance their bags will not make it on their flight.
On Friday morning, everything was back to normal at the airport.
Most recent statement from TSA:
"TSA baggage screening systems at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport are operational at this time, though tests continue. Delayed bags from yesterday have been screened."
Earlier Statement from TSA spokesman, Nico Melendez:
"TSA is experiencing significant, unprecedented technical issues with its computer server allowing the automated screening of checked bags for explosives. The issue began at approximately 6:45 a.m. today.
The issue is at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport only.
The downed network has resulted in more than 3,000 bags missing flights. TSA is working diligently with our airline and airport partners and using alternative screening tools to screen bags, though those method are not as efficient as our automated system. TSA encourages passengers to continue to arrive at Phoenix Sky Harbor early.
TSA is currently bringing additional canine units from other airports and bringing in network specialists to address the situation and keep passengers safe and screen all bags.
Thank you for your patience and understanding in this critical matter."
Statement from Southwest Airlines:
The TSA in Phoenix is experiencing delays in its checked bag screening system. A backup system is in place, but checked bags are likely to be delayed reaching their destinations. The Airport is advising passengers to avoid checking luggage if possible. We echo that advice and are working with the airport to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. We are doing our best to mitigate impact to our Customers under very challenging circumstances. In the meantime, we apologize to our Customers who are impacted as a result.