TSA announces start of Registered Traveler Pilot Program

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Local Press Release
Wednesday, July 7, 2004

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Transportation Security Administration today kicked off the Registered Traveler Pilot Program at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) in conjunction with Northwest Airlines.

Approved registered travelers are now able to use a designated checkpoint lane to provide biometric information (either a finger or iris scan) to confirm identity. Registered travelers and their carry-on bags will still go through primary screening, but more extensive secondary screening is largely eliminated.

"The launch of the Registered Traveler Pilot Program at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport is an exciting step toward enhancing customer service for the flying public," said Rear Adm. David M. Stone, USN (Ret.), TSA's Acting Administrator. "TSA is on the cutting-edge of new security technology. We expect this program to provide frequent travelers with a high level of security and an expedited screening experience."

TSA officials including Kenneth Kasprisin, the Federal Security Director for MSP, were on hand to demonstrate the new technology.

"TSA screeners here at MSP are ready to do their part in testing these new protocols that could be instituted nationwide," said Kasprisin. "We would like to thank Northwest Airlines and the Metropolitan Airports Commission for their support and continuing partnership."

The pilot will expand to four other airports this summer – Los Angeles International in coordination with United Airlines in mid-July; George Bush Intercontinental in Houston with Continental Airlines in early August; and Boston Logan International and Ronald Reagan Washington National, both with American Airlines by the end of August. The pilot will last about 90 days at each airport.

Participating airports and airlines were chosen based on a several factors, including suitability of airport facilities, number of frequent travelers and level of interest in the Registered Traveler Pilot Program.

Northwest Airlines invited its platinum elite frequent fliers to enroll in the pilot program in late June. Volunteers provided TSA with information, including name, address, phone number and date of birth, along with biometric identifiers. TSA then conducted a security assessment of each volunteer, including analysis of law enforcement and intelligence data sources and a check of outstanding criminal warrants. Approximately 2,000 customers will participate at each test airport.

During the pilot, registered travelers can use only the biometric equipment located in the traveler's home airport. Participation in the pilot program is voluntary and free. Once the pilot is complete, TSA will examine the results and technologies for security and customer service benefits. A determination will be made for wider implementation based on the results.