Help for long waits at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is coming, but when passengers will feel the relief remains to be seen.

By the end of this week, another bomb-sniffing canine team will be on the job at MSP and a second team will be deployed month's end.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) also has halted training and will start paying overtime to get more personnel on lines, Cliff Van Leuven, federal security director for the TSA in Minnesota, told members of the Metropolitan Airports Commission's (MAC) Management and Operations Committee on Monday.

"We will have all hands on deck and not off doing other things when there is work to be done," Van Leuven said.

Those steps are the beginning of an effort by the TSA to address a staffing shortage — not a money shortfall — that seems to be the main reason why passengers have endured wait times that have stretched to an hour or more.

On Friday afternoon, just nine of the 16 available security lanes were open "and it was chaotic," said Rick King, chairman of the Management and Operations Committee.

“They have money to hire more people,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said.

“They have money to hire more people,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said.

On Monday morning, when all 16 lanes were open, the longest wait was 23 minutes at 6 a.m. at the south checkpoint.

"It's all about having the right number of lanes open when we need them," King said. "The hope is we will be reducing the wait times we have seen."

Whether MSP will see more security screeners — and when — is unclear.

According to sources, MSP has about 650 screeners, or about 75 fewer officers than three years ago. During the same time frame, passenger volume at the airport has jumped 7 percent, an increase of about 2.8 million passengers.

Meanwhile, in recent months, some screeners were pulled off the line for intensive training in the wake of a June inspector general's report that found screeners were missing 95 percent of prohibited items passing through checkpoints.

Those training sessions have been completed to free up personnel to staff the lines. Additionally, the TSA has authorized the use of overtime for screeners who want to pick up extra hours. That, however, is a short-term solution, Van Leuven said.

"It is draining job," he said. At the outset, screeners may sign up for overtime shifts, but "we do see it decline over time, and the result is we have to go begging."

But the TSA has money to hire additional screeners, Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in a phone interview Monday.

The agency charged with overseeing security at the nation's airports was given a $7.4 billion budget, which was $211 million more than it had in 2015 and $93 million more than was requested. The money, Klobuchar said, needs to be spent to hire more screeners.

"This is not your classic government story about money," she said. "They have money to hire more people. They need to take responsibility. They need to fix this problem."

The canine teams can sniff passengers, and those not deemed a threat can be pulled out of general security lines and given expedited screening similar to PreCheck lanes that are reserved for trusted travelers, said Patrick Hogan, an airport spokesman. "That can speed things up," Hogan said.

Long lines have not been limited to the Twin Cities airport. Issues have arisen in places such as Atlanta — where TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger was on Monday — along with Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Las Vegas and New York.

6 checkpoints into 2

Still, at MSP, the problem was exacerbated after the airport last month consolidated six security checkpoints into two, because the TSA said it would be easier to staff fewer checkpoints. The TSA also said it would be easier to use canine teams to screen passengers at fewer locations. That is what led MSP to build a $17 million checkpoint on the terminal's north end, Hogan said.

But the move has roundly been considered a disaster, as lines have stretched from one end of the airport to the other. Gov. Mark Dayton in a letter sent to Neffenger last week, said the TSA had taken an efficient checkpoint system and "ruined efficiency by changing the configuration of the checkpoints."

Since the airport went to two checkpoints in mid-February, wait times have skyrocketed. On Sunday, for example, waits reached an hour during peak periods.

Airport officials also called on Neffenger last week to fix the problem, calling current lines unacceptable.

Since the beginning of the year, TSA has hired 192 additional screeners, but it is not clear how many, if any, were hired for MSP. By law, TSA is allowed to have 42,500 screeners nationwide.

Neffenger said he will come to the Twin Cities in the next few weeks to see the problem firsthand, said Klobuchar, who talked to the TSA chair Sunday.

"We have heard loud and clear from the traveling public about issues that have developed," said MAC Chairman Dan Boivin. "We are working hard to get lines flowing better."

But until more staff and the canine teams arrive, passengers can expect long wait times. Airport officials are still telling travelers to arrive two hours before their flight.