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TSA Overcharged Airlines for Screening, Court Says

(CN) - The Transportation Security Administration overcharged 22 airlines for the costs of airport security after the 2001 terrorist attacks, the D.C. Circuit ruled.

In the wake of Sept. 11 attacks, Congress created the TSA to oversee airport security. The TSA collects taxes from the airlines to cover these costs.

The airlines argued that the TSA improperly included "meeters-and-greeters and sightseers" in their calculation, while the TSA countered that screening them was an included cost in ensuring the safety of all passengers.

That argument did not convince Judge Williams, who ruled that the TSA was defining the word "screening" as including anything to protect passengers, as opposed to the standard meaning of the word as it relates to passengers going through the checkpoint at the airport.

Williams also disagreed with the TSA that the airlines were getting a windfall from the TSA screening the non-passengers, a cost that used to be incurred by the airlines.

"Sightseers have been barred from secure airport areas since the Sept. 11 attacks and are therefore not screened by TSA," Williams wrote.

The judge remanded the case for modification consistent with the court's opinion.

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