Travel groups call for faster security checkpoints at U.S. airports
|January 4, 2011||Posted by Overseas Sharing Communication China under Air News||
Two major travel groups are calling for separate, faster checkpoints for frequent fliers, including business travelers to cope with long lines at U.S. airports, a newspaper report said on Sunday.
Such checkpoints are necessary to speed passengers through as lines in the nation’s airports grow longer with newly enhanced security measures, the Los Angeles Times said on its Website.
It’s an idea promoted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade group for the global airline industry, and the National Business Travel Association (NBTA), the trade group for the U.S. business travel industry, according to the report.
Under the proposal, frequent travelers who submit background information prior to arriving at the airport can bypass the full-body scanners and pat-down searches, and undergo a quicker, less invasive security procedure instead, the report said.
In a meeting last month with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) leader John Pistole, leaders of the NBTA pressed the idea as a way to make the screening process more efficient, said the report.
In a recent survey, 71 percent of the association’s members said they would be willing to pay to undergo a one-time in-depth security check to qualify for the faster security screening, the report said.
“We plan to continue our dialogue with TSA over the months to come so we can work together to ensure the proper systems are in place to enhance security while minimizing challenges for the business traveler,” NBTA’s executive director Mike McCormick was quoted as saying in a statement.
Nico Melendez, a TSA spokesman, said the TSA did not rule out the possibility of setting up faster checkpoints.
But he said the TSA tested the idea of separate security lines several years ago in a pilot program called Registered Traveler.
After the pilot program ended, several private companies attempted to continue it in cooperation with the TSA, but those firms couldn’t expand the program to enough airports to make a profit and ended the ventures, according to the report.