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30 May, 2016

U.S. now seeking ways to quell “excessively long” airport security lines

WASHINGTON, (BUSINESS WIRE), 26 May 2016 – Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today applauded the members of the House Homeland Security Committee for introducing legislation intended to help reduce the excessively long security lines experienced by passengers, particularly at the country’s largest airports.

The Checkpoint Optimization and Efficiency Act of 2016 would require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to take a number of steps, including reassigning behavior detection officers to checkpoints positions, as well as giving local TSA directors the flexibility to make staffing decisions, in an effort to shorten passenger wait times. The bill also requires the TSA to review security officers and canine team allocations at each airport.

The Government Accountability Office is also tasked with reviewing the agency’s staffing allocations model. The bill aims to require TSA to ensure screening officers are doing security-related tasks such as passenger and baggage checks, while workers who aren’t trained for security roles handle jobs like restocking checkpoint bins and instructing travelers waiting in line. The measure would order TSA to expand participation in the PreCheck program by using “ready-to-market” ideas from private companies, and offering online and mobile enrollment options.

“We applaud the House Homeland Security Committee for taking measureable action to help ease the frustration of our passengers standing in these lines,” said Sharon Pinkerton, A4A Senior Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs. “We are expecting 2.5 million passengers a day to fly this summer and we need to ensure customers are able to be screened both efficiently and effectively, so they are not missing flights, as thousands already have because of extended security lines. By implementing these practices we hope to see security wait times get back to Department of Transportation standards of 29 minutes or less.”