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New security screening program starts at four airports

October 4, 2011 | 10:51 am

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The Transportation Security Administration on Tuesday began testing a program to allow prescreened travelers to zip through special checkpoint lanes at four U.S. airports.

Under the pilot program, dubbed TSA PreCheck, travelers who register by voluntarily providing background information can avoid the crowded checkpoints and instead use faster security lanes at the participating airports.

The program is part of the TSA's effort to break away from a security process that treats all travelers as if they pose the same risk.

"As TSA moves further away from a one-size-fits-all approach, our ultimate goal is to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way possible," TSA administrator John S. Pistole said.

If the program is successful, he said it will be expanded to other airports.

The change in tactics has been advocated by the U.S. Travel Assn. and other tourism trade groups and businesses who say the current security process deters foreign and domestic travelers from flying.

For now, the pilot program is operating only at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, Dallas/Fort Worth International and Miami International airports. Eligible travelers include frequent fliers from American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, as well as international travelers who have preregistered with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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-- Hugo Martin

Photo: TSA officials demonstrate body-scanning machines used at checkpoints at Los Angeles International Airport. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

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