WASHINGTON – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John S. Pistole spoke today with aviation stakeholders to provide an update on TSA’s ongoing efforts to implement risk-based, intelligence-driven security measures. As part of the discussion, Pistole provided details on the agency’s plan to conduct a pilot program in the coming months to enhance TSA’s identity-based, pre-flight screening capabilities and provide trusted travelers with expedited screening.
“These improvements will enable our officers to focus their efforts on higher risk areas,” said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “Enhancing identity-based screening is another common sense step in the right direction as we continue to strengthen overall security, and improve the passenger experience whenever possible.”
During today’s briefing, Administrator Pistole informed industry stakeholders that as part of a pilot beginning this fall, TSA will test enhancements to TSA’s pre-flight, identity-based screening capabilities through a partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as well as U.S. air carriers.
During the first phase of testing, certain frequent fliers and certain members of CBP’s Trusted Traveler programs, including members of Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS, who are U.S. citizens will be eligible to participate in this pilot, which could qualify them for expedited screening at select checkpoints at certain airports.
At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County airports, certain frequent fliers from Delta Air Lines and certain members of CBP’s Trusted Traveler programs who are U.S. citizens and who are also flying on Delta will be eligible to participate in the pilot. At Miami International and Dallas Fort Worth International airports, certain frequent fliers from American Airlines and certain members of CBP’s Trusted Traveler programs who are U.S. citizens and who are also flying on American will be eligible. TSA plans to expand this pilot to include United Airlines, Southwest, JetBlue, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines, as well as additional airports, once operationally ready.
Administrator Pistole will work with CBP Commissioner Alan D. Bersin and the airlines to determine passenger eligibility for this screening pilot, which is limited to U.S. citizens and is voluntary. As part of the pilot, these passengers may be eligible for expedited screening at the aforementioned airports. All passengers in this pilot are subject to recurrent security checks and random screening.
This pilot initiative will help inform TSA’s next steps as the agency considers future risk-based, intelligence-driven security measures that would enable travelers to volunteer more information about themselves prior to flying.
During the briefing, Administrator Pistole reiterated that TSA will continue to incorporate random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport and no individual will be guaranteed expedited screening. He further explained that airport security checkpoints are only one part of a multi-layered system for aviation security. Other layers of security, both seen and unseen by the public, include intelligence gathering and analysis, explosive-detection canine teams, federal air marshals, closed-circuit television monitoring and behavior detection officers.