Delta Air Lines severed its security contract at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport with its former services subsidiary, leading that firm to warn it will lay off 118 people.
It is the latest fissure in a relationship that has appeared fraught at MSP since Atlanta-based Delta sold off its majority stake in Delta Global Services, or DGS, 13 months ago.
DGS is dissolving its entire security business at Minnesota's largest airport, which screens non-crew Delta workers as they report for shifts at employee entrances.
The company will still handle other jobs for Delta at MSP, including cleaning airplanes, handling cargo and serving as agents at some passenger gates.
DGS will offer jobs to all of its security employees for those and other jobs, according to a notice to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development filed Monday.
"Because DGS is hopeful that many, if not all, of its current Employee Screening employees will transfer to the Aviation Division, it does not expect any significant employment loss," the company said in the notice.
Starting March 31, Delta will rely on Global Elite Services, a New York-based security firm without an existing presence at MSP, for employee screenings at the airport.
Delta spokesman Michael Thomas said he did not know why the airline was making the switch.
Delta, the dominant carrier at MSP, sold 51% of DGS in December 2018 to a holding company founded and run by Frank Argenbright — a well-known name in the security business, most recently leading SecurAmerica, an Atlanta-based firm that specializes in private security for individuals, corporations and institutions.
He also founded Argenbright Security, which was investigated by the 9/11 Commission after its security screeners allowed the hijackers in the 2001 attack through checkpoints. That event led to the creation of the Transportation Security Administration, making passenger security a function of the federal government.
Delta's sale of DGS to Argenbright was rocky at the start. MSP employees complained that flight benefits, a key job perk in working for DGS, were being stripped under the new ownership structure. DGS gave the workers some concessions on the benefits, but many employees still felt the job was less desirable than when it was a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta.
Lia Fontanazza, the Minneapolis-based human resources representative with DGS who signed the layoff notice, deferred comment and questions to the DGS communication team in Atlanta. DGS' communications department did not respond to the Star Tribune on Monday.
Airlines often hire third-party security firms to perform security screenings for airport workers. DGS is one of several that perform these services across the U.S.