The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has introduced its express security checkpoint program at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., it announced yesterday.
Known as TSA PreCheck — or TSA Pre✓™ — the voluntary "trusted traveler" program allows eligible fliers who pass a background check in advance of flying to pass more quickly through security checkpoints thanks to a special expedited screening lane that does not require passengers to remove their shoes, belts, coats, laptops or carry-on toiletries. With the addition of John Wayne Airport, the program is now available at 35 U.S. airports.
"Over the past year, we've expanded TSA PreCheck to 35 airports, covering all 28 of the largest airports along with seven others across the country," said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. "In the coming year, we will continue partnering with airlines, airports, and the traveling public to further expand TSA PreCheck, making air travel safer and more efficient for the traveling public."
Launched in October 2011 at four U.S. airports — Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta
Metropolitan Wayne County, Dallas
International and Miami
International airports — TSA PreCheck is available to U.S. citizens traveling domestically who are select Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways frequent travelers or members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI and NEXUS.
As of November 15, Canadian citizens traveling domestically in the United States who are members of NEXUS are also qualified to participate in TSA PreCheck.
"Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and TSA Administrator John Pistole deserve our thanks for their commitment to expanding the PreCheck trusted traveler program and reaching their goal of 35 participating airports by year's end," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "Air travel continues to be the gateway to commerce and improving efficiency while maintaining the current high level of security is a win-win for travelers and the American economy."
According to Dow, the volume of U.S. air travel is expected to double in 20 years, which makes programs like PreCheck critical. "This forecast, combined with rapidly rising costs to screen passengers, underscores the need to expand trusted traveler programs such as PreCheck, especially as our nation moves away from a one-size-fits-all approach to a more intelligence-driven, risk-based transportation security system," he continued.
To date, more than 5 million passengers have been screened in TSA PreCheck lanes — a good start, according to Dow, but just that: a start. "With two million travelers flying daily, PreCheck can only succeed if participation is greatly expanded beyond the five million passengers that have currently been screened," he concluded. "We are encouraged by recent news that TSA is exploring new methods to expand usage of the program."