Airline Group Pushes Airport Security Changes

The International Air Transport Association's CEO argues that, without changes, both passengers and airport terminals will become overwhelmed.

Do you think that airport security is too annoying? Well, a key trade group agrees.

The director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Tony Tyler, recently explained the group’s focus on simplifying airport security at the World Passenger Symposium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

We simply can’t cope with the expected volume of passengers with the way things are today.

His warning? The current security system is unsustainable.

“We simply can’t cope with the expected volume of passengers with the way things are today,” Tyler said, according to the Associated Press. The group, arguing that the current one-size-fits-all approach to airport security is a hassle for both passengers and airports, wants to move to a system that focuses on risk assessment.

IATA has been pushing such changes for months. In a 2011 New York Times story, the group presented a vision for airport security lines in which passengers would go through different aisles based on levels of risk.

These “checkpoints of the future,” as the association calls them, would allow passengers to go through security without emptying bags, taking off shoes, or throwing out liquids — and would be supplemented with preferred-travel programs the Transportation Security Administration currently is pushing.

What would help to simplify the process? More knowledge of the passengers traveling through airports.

“Sharing information about passengers is a sensitive subject, but our passenger survey shows that nearly three out of four air travelers would be willing to share personal information with governments to speed up security screening,” Tyler said, according to an IATA press release.

The TSA agrees: “If you are willing to share a little more information, then you can have a much better experience,” TSA head John Pistole said. “We can then spend more time on those we know the least about.”

The group plans to test the concept in airports by late 2014.

Think airport security needs a refresh — or does another part of the travel process need it a little more? Let us know in the comments.

(IATA photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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