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GAO: Actions Needed to Better Identify, Track U.S.-Bound Public Charter Operations from Cuba

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) generally followed its standard operating procedures when documenting and resolving findings from its foreign airport assessments and air carrier inspections at Cuban airports in fiscal years 2012 through 2017, a GAO report found.

However, TSA did not perform all the required inspections of air carriers operating U.S.-bound public charter flights from Cuba. Specifically, GAO found that for the five air carriers selected for analysis, TSA performed approximately half of air carrier inspections in Cuba at the frequency established in its standard operating procedures in fiscal years 2012 through 2016.

Of the inspections TSA did not perform, over half were not performed because TSA was not able to identify or reliably track U.S.-bound public charter operations from Cuba. Improving TSA’s ability to identify public charters requiring inspection in Cuba and implementing a tool it is currently developing that more reliably tracks air carrier operations would better position TSA to meet its goal of inspecting all air carriers operating U.S.-bound public charter flights from Cuba at the frequency established in its standard operating procedures.

Several of the Cuban airports TSA assessed in fiscal years 2012 through 2017 were fully compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization Standards at the time of assessment. The remaining airport assessments reported instances of noncompliance within the five categories: access control, quality control, aircraft and inflight security, passenger and baggage screening, and fencing.

Read the GAO report

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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