US Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, has received "more than a couple hundred pieces of correspondence," mostly from New Mexicans, conveying concerns about invasive Transportation Security Administration procedures for airline travellers. Approximately a dozen of them reference the Albuquerque International Sunport, according to Udall spokeswoman Marissa Padilla.
The Sunport was one of the first airports to have a full-body scanner, and now has four. Airport Public Information Officer Daniel Jiron says the airport has heard minimal concerns over TSA policies. As for the national "opt out" of body scans day, which some anticipate could slow travel the day before Thanksgiving, Jiron says, "We'll just have to see how it goes. We just recommend people get here early."
Santa Fe's small municipal airport is scheduled to receive a new X-ray machine and other equipment, but is unlikely to host a full-body scanner. Airport Manager Jim Montman notes, however, that Santa Fe's airport follows the same TSA procedures implemented elsewhere, including full-body pat downs, as necessary. Still, he acknowledges, "we do get a lot of comments from people that they like flying out of Santa Fe because they are always dealing with the same counter people [and] the same TSA employees…"
Udall, on Nov. 19, requested a public TSA procedures hearing in December. "…[Sen.] Udall believes we must continually work to strike the proper balance of ensuring airline security and respecting the privacy and dignity of the traveling public," Padilla writes.