Airport Executives Seek to Expand Trusted Traveler Program Beyond Elite Fliers
The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) -- the world's largest airport organization, representing thousands of men and women across the country who manage and operate the nation's airports -- pledged its support today in working collaboratively with the Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection to grow the PreCheck trusted traveler program to accommodate additional fliers as quickly as possible.
"Airport executives long have advocated for the adoption of a robust, nationwide trusted traveler program to better identify and scrutinize potential threats while improving passengers' experiences at the airport," AAAE President Chip Barclay said. "The recent announcement by TSA that the agency intends to bring its PreCheck trusted traveler program on-line quickly at additional airports is welcome news, and airport executives are eager to play an active role in the successful deployment of the program at their facilities.
"Airport executives anticipate great success with the PreCheck program and recognize that the next challenge will be moving from a largely airline-centric program in operation at a handful of airports to one that is operational for large numbers of travelers at airport facilities across the country," Barclay added. "Airport operators are uniquely situated and qualified to play a key role in assisting TSA in efficiently and effectively growing participation in PreCheck or a similar trusted traveler program."
Barclay noted that over the past decade, AAAE and individual airports have worked closely with TSA and the technology community to implement specific programs, including Registered Traveler (RT). In roughly one year, the RT program enrolled more than 250,000 travelers at 24 airports, proving the security and efficiency benefits that adoption of these programs provides.
PreCheck in its current form is available only to certain elite travelers on specific airlines and participants in the CBP Global Entry program. Barclay said that airport executives would like to see the program expanded to accommodate as many additional travelers as possible in an airport-centric, community-based effort. Barclay added that while airline-based programs and Global Entry are good avenues in enrolling qualified participants, additional efforts will be needed to accommodate a broader range of qualified travelers -- a goal that airports, the traveling public, and the government share.
Additional views from AAAE were outlined in a letter sent today to TSA Administrator John Pistole and CBP Acting Commissioner David Aguilar, which can be viewed here.
"Airports are confident that in partnership with TSA they can help facilitate the deployment of a robust trusted/known traveler program that focuses on enhanced security above all else in addition to expediting the travel experience," Barclay said. "We are eager to work with Administrator Pistole and his team to make the promises of PreCheck a reality for a broad range of qualified travelers at airports across the country."