Casey Calls on TSA to Bring Pre-Screening Program to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Airports

New TSA Effort Speeds Up Wait Time for Customers While Maintaining Safety At Airports

WASHINGTON, DC - Today U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to bring its new pre-screening program to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh International Airports.

The new program, which allows for expedited screening at select checkpoints, is being road tested at airports across the country. Bringing the program to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh would allow travelers a smoother commute and make Philadelphia and Pittsburgh International Airports a more attractive destination for travelers.

“Philadelphia and Pittsburgh International Airports are a major driver of economic growth in our state, bringing TSA’s pre-screening program to our airports will only increase their positive impact on the economy,” Casey said. “We must do everything we can to keep air travel safe, reliable and efficient- bringing TSA’s pre-screening program to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh International will do just that.”

TSA is testing a limited, voluntary passenger pre-screening initiative with a small traveler population at four U.S. airports, with plans to expand the program’s reach. In his letter, Casey asked that the TSA include Philadelphia and Pittsburgh International Airports in that expansion. Currently airports in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Miami and Las Vegas are taking place in the pre-screening program.  For security purposes, TSA does not reveal details about the pre-screening process, but uses information provided voluntarily by participants to determine whether they meet appropriate safety standards. 

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is the only major airport serving the 5th largest metropolitan area in the United States. PHL and Northeast Philadelphia Airport (PNE), PHL's general aviation reliever airport, are owned and operated by the City of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia International Airport is owned and operated by the City of Philadelphia. The Airport is a self-sustaining entity that operates without the use of local tax dollars. It is one of the largest economic engines in Pennsylvania, generating more than $14.4 billion in spending to the regional economy, and accounts for more than 141,000 jobs within the region.

Pittsburgh International Airport is operated and managed by the Allegheny County Airport Authority. Opened October 1, 1992, Pittsburgh International's Midfield Terminal brought a new vision to the region for domestic and international air travel. Designed to be the nation's best gateway to international commerce, PIT is within a 90-minute flight of 70 percent of North America's population. Capacity is one of PIT's most valuable assets. 

The full text of Casey’s letter to the TSA can be seen below:

December 21, 2011

Mr. John S. Pistole

Administrator

Transportation Security Administration

Dear Administrator Pistole:

As you know, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is currently piloting a pre-flight screening program, a known as TSA Pre-Check, at a limited number of U.S. airports.  I respectfully request that the TSA consider offering this program at the Philadelphia International Airport and the Pittsburgh International Airport in Pennsylvania.

TSA Pre-Check offers eligible passengers, including members of Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Traveler programs, the option of being pre-screened before arriving at airports.  If TSA determines that a passenger qualifies for expedited screening, he or she will be referred to special security lanes where removal of shoes, belts, jackets, and certain electronic devices and liquid items will not be required.  This will help to minimize airport delays and inconvenience to travelers while ensuring the effectiveness of the TSA’s critical security screening processes and our national security.

According to Airports Council International, Philadelphia International Airport is the world’s twelfth busiest airport in terms of air traffic movements.  In 2010, more than thirty million passengers passed through the Philadelphia International Airport.  The Pittsburgh International Airport has a reputation as one of the United States’ best airports in terms of traveler satisfaction, and was ranked seventh best airport for business travel by Condé Nast Traveler in 2011.  Both of these airports are outstanding candidates for the TSA Pre-Check program.

I appreciate the TSA’s efforts to develop creative new methods of security screening in order to improve the experience of travelers at U.S. airports.  I urge you to consider the Philadelphia International Airport and the Pittsburgh International Airport for inclusion in the TSA Pre-Check pilot program.   

 Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator 

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