TSA expands Pre-Check program to international flights

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“By expanding TSA Pre-Check beyond domestic air travel, we are further demonstrating our commitment to identifying innovative ways to securely move travelers more quickly through our airports,” Pistole said in a statement. “Through TSA Pre-Check, TSA can quickly process passengers who we know more about. This allows us to focus more of our time on those passengers about whom we know less.”

TSA has come under fire for other aspects of its move to a risk-based system, most recently for its attempt to allow passengers to carry small knives onto airplanes for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The agency said removing knives from its list of prohibited items would allow airport security screeners to focus on searching for explosive devices. However, the agency pushed back the implementation of the new knife rule after facing intense pressure from lawmakers and aviation groups.

The move to allow international passengers to sign up for expedited screening was greeted more favorably by the aviation and travel industries.

"By removing more known, low-risk travelers from the regular screening process, PreCheck will only increase aviation security efficiency and consistency," U.S. Travel Association President Roger Dow said in a statement. "We commend TSA for identifying creative ways to enhance the trusted PreCheck program and making the passenger screening process more efficient while maintaining security. We look forward to continuing to work with TSA on other vital security measures that encourage travel and strengthen our economy."

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Executive Director Michael McCormick agreed.

"The international expansion [of TSA's Pre-Check] ensures secure, efficient travel for thousands of business travelers going to face-to-face meetings around the globe to meet with their customers and partners," McCormick said in a statement.

"Everyday U.S. companies and their employees compete in the global marketplace," McCormick continued. "TSA is to be commended for its commitment to expand risk-based, intelligence-driven security initiatives."