Collins & Higgins Oppose TSA Proposal to Pull Buffalo-Niagara International Airport Status as a Hub
Western New York Congressmembers Brian Higgins (NY-26) and Chris Collins (NY-27) are calling for a reversal on a plan by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to remove Buffalo-Niagara International Airport’s (BNIA) status as a hub airport. Under the TSA’s “hub and spoke realignment” plan the Buffalo airport would become a spoke and Albany would become the upstate hub.
In a letter to TSA Administrator John Pistole, Higgins and Collins argue why, when assessing the reality of airport needs on the ground in New York State, it makes the most sense to keep Buffalo as a hub.
“It appears that TSA chose another airport arbitrarily because it is located in the state capital without a good understanding of its location or fair consideration of Buffalo-Niagara’s volume,” said Congressman Higgins, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “A simple look at the numbers, security factors and unique characteristics of this facility as a border airport should make Buffalo the clear choice as a hub.”
“Although Albany may be our state capital, the simple fact is that Buffalo-Niagara is a bigger, busier airport,” said Congressman Collins. “Given the passenger and flight volume at the Buffalo-Niagara airport, the fact that it is a border airport which requires more complicated TSA work, and the federal law enforcement resources located in Buffalo, I urge TSA to let Buffalo remain the hub for upstate New York.”
Higgins and Collins use the following data to support justification to keep the Buffalo airport as a hub:
- Buffalo is the third busiest airport in NY, with JFK ranking first, LaGuardia ranking second
- Buffalo handles twice the number of passengers, flights and freight than Albany
- 2013 throughput at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport: 2,793,855
- 2013 throughput at the Albany County Airport: 1,338,648
- In the TSA’s own "Current Airport Threat Assessment” Buffalo was ranked 41 out of 457 airports surveyed. Albany didn’t make the list.
- Due to Buffalo’s location along the northern border, 40% of the passengers at Buffalo are Canadians or other foreign nationals which require more complicated TSA work in Buffalo
- Buffalo is in closer proximity to the other larger upstate “spokes” including Rochester and Syracuse
- Buffalo is home to a larger nexus of federal law enforcement personnel with a greater FBI, CBP, Border Patrol and Coast Guard presence
Hub airports include the use of Federal Security Directors (FSD) on-site to assist with security activities, coordinate emergency response among federal and local agencies and lead crisis management.