By Carissa Bluestone
Although registered traveller programs are still often met with cynicism and suspicion, several organizations are moving forward to use these schemes as a basis for streamlining airport security.
The International Airport Transit Association (IATA), an organization that includes most major airlines worldwide—including Air Canada and Air Transat—has been working on Checkpoint of the Future (CoF), a “risk-based approach supported by advanced technology to allow passengers to move through the checkpoint without stopping, unpacking or disrobing”.
CoF divides flyers into three categories: normal, enhanced and known traveller. The latter group must submit to full background checks through established registered traveller programs. The determination between normal and enhanced will be made using customs and immigration info that is already collected and stored in the course of processing typical travel documents. The IATA thinks this system could be fully realized in seven years, with parts of it implemented sooner.
In the US, the Transportation Security Agency has started testing its PreCheck program—which allows expedited screening to US citizens and have passed background checks—in four cities: Miami, Detroit, Dallas and Atlanta. That’s a pretty exclusive test group, but if the program is successful it will be implemented elsewhere and is the type of program that could intersect with IATA’s initiative.