LOS ANGELES – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today began the Registered Traveler Pilot Program at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in conjunction with United Airlines. A similar pilot was launched successfully in Minneapolis with Northwest Airlines on July 7.
"TSA is eager to expand this pilot program as it provides frequent travelers with a high level of security and an expedited screening experience," said Carol DiBattiste, TSA Chief of Staff. "This pilot provides us with an opportunity to test cutting-edge technology including a 'smart' card containing a chip with biometric information for confirming identity."
Approved registered travelers will be directed to a designated checkpoint lane where they will provide their Registered Traveler Smart Card containing biometric information (a fingerprint and iris scan) for identity confirmation. Registered travelers and their carry-on bags will still go through primary screening, but more extensive secondary screening will be largely eliminated.
The pilot will expand to three other airports this summer – George Bush Intercontinental in Houston with Continental Airlines will launch in the next few weeks; 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 several factors, including suitability of airport facilities, number of frequent travelers, and level of interest in the Registered Traveler Pilot Program.
TSA officials including Larry Fetters, Federal Security Director for LAX, were on hand to demonstrate the new technology.
"We would like to thank United Airlines and Los Angeles World Airport officials for their support and continuing partnership," said Fetters. "Our relationships are key to the success of this program and to helping the aviation industry provide security and excellent customer service for the traveling public."
In early July, United Airlines invited its premier frequent fliers to enroll in the pilot program. 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.
During the pilot, registered travelers may use the biometric equipment only in their airport of enrollment. 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 before deciding whether to expand the program to other airports.