WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration delayed a decision to allow pocket knives on airliners, according to an internal email sent to agency employees Monday.
TSA administrator John Pistole said in the email the agency wanted to further consult with the airline industry before making the change, according to a person familiar with its contents who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record.
The proposed policy change, announced in March, was designed to align U.S. rules with those in Europe and better reflect intelligence on active terrorist threats, the agency said. Instead, the plan provoked protests from flight attendants, air marshals, executives of the largest airlines and the union representing airport screeners.
The TSA had said that it intended to ease cabin restrictions of items including knives less than 2.36 inches long, hockey sticks and golf clubs.
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Executives from Delta Air Lines, AMR and US Airways Group had condemned TSA’s proposed policy change. Unions representing flight attendants, pilots and airport screeners lobbied Congress for a reversal.
Appearing at a March 14 hearing of the House Transportation Security subcommittee, Pistole said that responsibility to control passengers rested with the airlines, not the agency.
Pistole drew some key support from House Republicans. A larger group of lawmakers from both parties, including Sens. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, said they would support legislation to keep knives off planes.