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Enhanced airline identity verification program to begin later this year

Apr 20, 2011 Brian Bradley

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) administrator John S. Pistole recently approved testing for an enhanced airline crewmember screening system. The new technology will work by seamlessly merging airline employee databases together to enable TSA security officers to positively verify the identity and employment status of workers. Testing for the program will begin in some airports this year, and will incorporate biometric measures such as retina scans and fingerprint matching, according to the Los Angeles Times. Air Line Pilots Association, International president captain Lee Moak explains that pilots are some of the most highly screened employees in the aviation industry. He believes the enhanced measure will be an efficient alternative to traditional security screening processes. A screening method called CrewPass had been in place since 2007, and used successfully at three East Coast airports for nearly three years. The new solution leverages that technology, and is more cost-effective than the original software. "Deploying an enhanced screening program for pilots in uniform that allows the TSA to verify their employment and identity is a step in the right direction as we continue to explore more risk-based, intelligence-driven security solutions," said Pistole. Pistole added that he wants to focus his remaining resources on passenger screening, while speeding up the checkpoint experience for everyone.