TSA launches Registered Traveler Pilot Program in Houston

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Local Press Release
Tuesday, August 3, 2004

HOUSTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today began the Registered Traveler Pilot Program at George Bush Intercontinental (Houston) Airport (IAH) in conjunction with Continental Airlines. Similar pilots were launched successfully in Minneapolis and Los Angeles in July.

"With the successful launch of the pilot in both Minneapolis and Los Angeles, TSA has shown that we can provide a Registered Traveler pilot program that maintains the highest level of security while improving customer service," said Carol DiBattiste, TSA Deputy Administrator. "The cutting-edge biometrics used in this test will provide useful data on how this technology could enhance security in the future."

TSA is on track to expand the pilot program to 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.

Officials from George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Continental Airlines and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), including James Marchand, TSA Federal Security Director for IAH, were on hand to demonstrate the new technology.

"We would like to thank Continental Airlines and George Bush Intercontinental Airport officials for their support and continuing partnership," said Marchand.

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.

In late July, Continental Airlines invited its elite OnePass 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. Approximately 2,000 customers will participate at each test airport.

During the pilot, registered travelers may use the biometric equipment only in his or her 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 before deciding whether to expand the program to other airports.