Airport Security Details Ahead of the Holiday Weekend
- By Sydny Shepard
- Jul 01, 2016
An estimated 41 million people will be traveling over the Independence Day holiday, the most in nearly eight years. Ahead of the busy weekend, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to provide insight into the departments air travel and security operations.
Months after increasing passenger screening measures collided with an increase in Transportation Safety Administration personnel, DHS has been scrambling to decrease the amount of time passenger spend waiting in security checkpoint lines. On top of shaving time off passengers’ wait, they have also been cracking down on measures to prevent possible terrorist attacks.
DHS has since approved the hire of more than 1,300 TSA officers and covert 2,700 part-time offers to full-time. Johnson says this has helped with passenger flow through the nation’s busiest airports.
However, airport security will sooner be tested as DHS prepares for one of the biggest travel holidays of the year.
Johnson said that DHS has increased the number of canine teams operating at the nation’s busiest airports to handle security, while the major airlines have collaborated to provide personnel for non-security based TSA duties.
He also added that the TSA PreCheck program is currently tallying 15,000 enrollments a day to provide passengers with another option for shorter wait times.
“Our efforts are showing results. Nationwide, the wait time for more than 99 percent of the traveling public is 30 minutes or less, and more than 90 percent of the traveling public is waiting 15 minutes or less,” Johnson said. “But we are not taking a victory lap. Now that summer is here, we will not let up on aviation security or addressing the increased levels of air travel.”
The hearing comes just after a terrorist attack at a Turkish airport that killed 44 people and injured over 200 more. Johnson recognized the event and said that in addition to TSA screening initiatives, DHS is continuing to deploy Customs and Border Protection agents to foreign airports to pre-clear travelers booked for flights to the U.S.
Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.