TSA touts first international PreCheck participant

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is touting its first international participant in its PreCheck known-traveler program: Air Canada Airlines. 

The agency said this week that the Montreal-based carrier was joining its program that allows fliers to volunteer information to the agency in exchange for the possibility of receiving expedited screening at airports. 

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement the TSA’s decision to extend the PreCheck program to the Canadian airline “underscores our commitment to easing the traveler experience, while maintaining the highest standards of security.”

TSA Administrator John Pistole has touted the expansion of the agency's PreCheck program as part of its commitment to move toward a “risk-based” airport security system. 

Since its inception in 2002, critics have frequently accused the TSA of, at best, being inefficient and, at worst, violating airline passengers' privacy.  

Air Canada Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Benjamin Smith said the PreCheck program would improve the airport security experience for his airline’s passengers. 

“Air Canada is delighted to be the first international airline to offer TSA PreCheck accelerating the security screening process for eligible customers at most of the U.S. destinations served by Air Canada,” Smith said in a statement. “Air Canada serves the most passengers with the most daily flights of any non-U.S. carrier in the United States.  TSA PreCheck will make our customers’ travel experience with us even more enjoyable, including those connecting through our main hubs in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver to international destinations in Asia and Europe.”

Travel groups praised the announcement of the international expansion of the PreCheck program as a positive step for the TSA. 

“Expanding PreCheck to international carriers is the next logical step for a program that already has a phenomenal track record in simultaneously improving both security and the flying experience,” U.S. Travel Association President Roger Dow said in a statement. 

“What was once thought of as a zero-sum choice between convenience and security is really not a choice at all, and [TSA] Administrator [John] Pistole and the rest of the Obama Administration are to be given tremendous credit for continuing to evolve air travel policies in innovative and increasingly traveler-friendly ways,” Dow continued.