The US Department of Homeland Security Announces Increased Aviation Security Measures
Last Wednesday the Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, John Kelly said "It is time to raise the global baseline of aviation security.”
As a solution, US officials are requiring a higher level of security amongst all flights that have a final destination of the United States. This comes as an alternative to widely spreading the Trump administration’s laptop ban, which was under scrutiny for refusing entry into the US for those in Libya, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan unless they can demonstrate a ‘close relationship’ with a US person or entity.
The agency said if the 180 airlines impacted refuse to obey the new security measures in place, they will be banned from operating incoming flights to the US and still face future in-cabin electronics restrictions. Kelly noted that these measures directly enforce changes for airline carriers since the department does not have jurisdiction over foreign airports but they do for US bound flights.
Officials are requiring an enhancement of overall passenger screening, heightened screening of personal electronic devices, better security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas, as well as advanced technology and expanded canine screening for established pre-clearance locations. With 325,000 average daily passengers, both the airlines and travelers have concerns.
Airlines are expecting these changes to take a toll on sales growth and overall traveler satisfaction on their 2,100 flights daily. Meanwhile, travelers should prepare for longer wait times at the airport, more in depth processes, and additional visibility into baggage at about 280 airports depending on seasonal travel schedules. Passengers can try Clear, Global Entry, and TSA PreCheck to speed up the airport process but should still consider arriving to the airport earlier than normal.
Business travelers have already felt the burden of these security changes since the initial roll out of Trump’s laptop ban. Although these passengers usually pay double or more than the average ticket fare, they are the most impacted by the heightened security measures implemented since the beginning of the year.
The Department of Homeland Security says the United States has "seen a spider web of threats" to the aviation industry and these measures are to “to keep the traveling public safe, in coordination with our international partners.”
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