TSA’s effort to further advance transportation security around the world is taking another step forward.
Representatives from 29 foreign air carriers and U.S. aircraft operators participated in an Asia-Pacific Regional Industry Summit, which TSA conducted in Sydney, Australia. The event gave TSA the opportunity to engage directly with carriers in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The ever-changing situation in world affairs and its impact to our industry demonstrates that, more than ever, it is important for us to work together and address security needs while ensuring the flow of people and commerce,” said Stacey Fitzmaurice, TSA senior official performing the duties of the deputy administrator.
Fitzmaurice traveled to Australia to speak at the summit. She announced that under a five-year National Travel and Tourism Strategy released in 2022, TSA, in partnership with the private sector, is aiming for a goal of 90 million passengers a year traveling to and from the U.S.
“The strategy lays out a plan for DHS and TSA to work with our international partners and engage in continuous discussions on aviation security and streamline the transfer passenger experience,” Fitzmaurice said.
Ingrid Robicheau, TSA international industry representative and engagement branch manager, said the summit was also designed to educate TSA’s foreign and domestic partners on the agency’s approach to aviation security and requirements for their U.S. operations.
“The (summit) helped TSA further understand the ongoing challenges of the airlines and how our partnership is crucial to improve channels of communication between the industry and TSA while continuing to evaluate processes from a risk-based lens,” said Robicheau. “This is particularly important as air carriers regularly provide TSA with information and intelligence during ongoing aviation crises and incidents as well as up-and-coming initiatives in the aviation industry.”
TSA led discussions on how the agency inspects carriers and enforces regulations for international flights, recent changes to cybersecurity requirements, emerging biometric technologies, internal technology testing and upcoming security program updates and changes.
“We are working together on emerging technology and developing policy to support the new technology,” Robicheau explained. “The ability to apply a risk-based approach in developing policy and regulatory practices both stateside and at last-point-of-departure airports around the world.”
“The biggest takeaway was to ensure continued communication between TSA and our partners to move forward toward our common goals of enhancing aviation security and evolve with emerging threats,” she added.
Fitzmaurice said passenger volume from the Asia-Pacific region to the U.S. grew from 2.8 million in 2021 to 8 million last year.
“I am hopeful that as we continue to work together collectively, our recovery efforts (following the COVID-19 pandemic) will increase passenger volume trends even further,” Fitzmaurice noted. “Engaging with our industry partners is one of the most critical actions we can take to meet our shared aviation security mission.”
By Don Wagner, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs