A million airline passengers have enrolled in the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck known traveler program, the agency said on Tuesday.
The program, which is part of the TSA's move to "risk-based" security techniques, allows passengers to pay a fee and volunteer information to the agency in exchange for the possibility of receiving expedited screening.
TSA officials touted the enrollment figures as proof of the viability of the PreCheck program and its other risk-based initiatives on Tuesday.
"The continued growth and passenger participation in TSA PreCheck affirms our commitment to the evolution of our intelligence-driven, risk-based approach to aviation security," Acting TSA Administrator Melvin Carraway said in a statement. "This milestone is a testament to the outstanding collaborative work between TSA, airports, airlines and most importantly, the traveling public. With more than 330 application centers nationwide, it is easier than ever to apply for expedited screening."
The TSA PreCheck program was involved in a controversial report from the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general last week about a convicted felon being approved to participate in the program, despite his criminal background.
TSA officials defended the expedited screening program after the report, saying it was part of a sea change in U.S. airport security despite the hiccup, because it allows airport security officials to focus on passengers who are most likely to pose threats to flights.
“TSA continues to enhance its layered security approach through state-of-the-art technologies, improved passenger identification techniques and trusted traveler programs, and best practices to strengthen transportation security across all modes of transportation,” the agency said in a statement that was provided last week.
“All passengers, including those with TSA PreCheck on boarding passes, are subject to a robust security approach that employs multiple layers of security, both seen and unseen,” the agency’s statement continued. “Together, these layers provide enhanced security and a stronger, more protected transportation system for the traveling public.”
TSA officials said Tuesday the expedited screening program “allows U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to directly apply for TSA PreCheck.
“Once approved, travelers will receive a ‘Known Traveler Number’ and will have the opportunity to utilize TSA PreCheck lanes at select security checkpoints when flying on 11 participating carriers: Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America,” the agency continued.