On 21 April 2009, former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was traveling aboard Continental Airlines flight 083 from Delhi to Newark. Dr. Kalam was required to undergo pre-board screening in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) regulatory requirements immediately prior to boarding the aircraft. TSA requires that all passengers and their accessible property are screened for any items listed on the prohibited items list.
There are reports that the government of India has an official list of VIP’s and their spouses that are exempt from pre-board screening procedures. However, such a list does not mirror U.S. requirements for passengers that are exempted from pre-board screening when traveling aboard U.S. commercial aircraft. While traveling from an international location to the U.S. on an U.S. commercial aircraft, former Heads of State, and other VIPs, are screened according to the same screening procedures as for any other passenger. If requested, private screening can be provided.
TSA has reviewed the circumstances of Dr. Kalam’s travel and confirms that Continental Airlines implemented security measures in compliance with TSA regulations. TSA regrets any inconvenience that Dr. Kalam may have experienced as a result of our standard security requirements. TSA works closely with our international counterparts and our stakeholder air carriers to ensure a safe and secure transportation network.