The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is prepared for US summer passenger volumes that may exceed those of 2019 for the first time since pre-pandemic.

Checkpoint environments and procedures have changed to enhance screening operations, ensure the safety and well-being of the traveling public, and to minimise the spread of COVID-19, said the administration. 

“Daily passenger volumes at TSA checkpoints show that people are traveling again, and TSA is ready for their return. Our airport security checkpoints include 47,500 highly trained security professionals and new technologies that enhance security and reduce physical contact,” said TSA administrator David Pekoske. “We continue to recruit, retain, train and equip a highly-skilled workforce, and we work continuously with our airport and airline partners to anticipate and prepare for higher traffic patterns.”

Recent security enhancements at airport screening checkpoints include two new technologies. TSA has deployed credential authentication technology (CAT) and computed tomography (CT) scanners to improve identification verification, and in some airports, enable digital identification verification at the Travel Document Checker podium and the scanning capabilities for carry-on bags. Both technologies enhance security and reduce physical contact at checkpoints.

To date, TSA has deployed 1,621 CAT units at 176 airports. Among those, 90 CAT units are modified and equipped to read and verify digital identification. TSA also deployed 402 CT units at 163 airports across the US. In March, it announced the award of two orders for the procurement and maintenance of additional base and full-size CT scanners to be installed at checkpoints during the summer months.

The CT units enable TSA officers to review a 3D image of passengers’ bags and reduce the need to search the bag. Passengers screened in security lanes with CT units do not need to remove their travel-size liquids bag or electronics.

The new CT units are currently being installed at Billings Logan International Airport in Montana, Albany International Airport in New York, Buffalo Niagara International Airport in New York, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina.

The US summer travel season, which begins in late May, covers three full months and four major holidays.