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Passengers offered chance to speed up airport screening with new TSA initiative

The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced it will begin testing a limited, voluntary passenger pre-screening initiative at four airports today.

The TSA PreCheck initiative, which will focus on a small known traveller population, implements a key component of its intelligence-driven, risk-based approach to security.

This pilot program will help assess measures designed to enhance security by placing more focus on pre-screening individuals who volunteer information about themselves prior to flying in order to potentially expedite the travel experience.

“As TSA moves further away from a one-size-fits-all approach, our ultimate goal is to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way possible,” said TSA Administrator John Pistole.

“By learning more about travellers through information they voluntarily provide, and combining that information with our other layers of security, we can focus more resources on higher-risk and unknown passengers.

“This new screening system holds great potential to strengthen security while significantly enhancing the travel experience whenever possible for passengers.”

During this pilot, TSA will use pre-screening capabilities to make intelligence-based risk assessments on passengers who voluntarily participate in the TSA PreCheck program and are flying domestically from one of the four pilot sites: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, Dallas/Fort Worth International and Miami International airports.

Eligible participants include certain frequent flyers from American Airlines and Delta Air Lines as well as members of the Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) Trusted Traveller programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS, who are US citizens and are flying on participating airlines.

If successful, TSA plans to expand the pilot to include additional airlines, as well as other airports that participate in CBP’s Global Entry program, once operationally ready.

Eligible passengers may be referred to a lane where they will experience expedited screening.

TSA will incorporate random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport and no individual will be guaranteed expedited screening.

TSA’s multi-layered approach to security also includes behaviour detection officers, explosives-detection systems, canine teams, and federal air marshals, among other measures both seen and unseen.

As part of the agency’s risk-based security initiative, TSA is in the process of testing several other new screening initiatives, including a program designed to provide positive ID verification for airline pilots and the use of expanded behaviour detection techniques, in addition to the recent changes in screening procedures for children.