East Hawaii News

Schatz Asks TSA to Expand PreCheck to Interisland Flights

June 18, 2013, 12:33 PM HST
* Updated June 18, 12:35 PM
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US Sen. Brian Schatz is seeking to expand a program expediting checkpoint screening to include interisland flights in Hawaii.

The Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program allows low-risk passengers to move quickly through checkpoint screening.

The pre-screening involves US citizens who are select frequent travelers of participating airlines using dedicated TSA “Pre™” lanes at participating airports. At those lanes passengers don’t have to remove shoes or belts, or laptops or “3-1-1” compliant bags from carry-on luggage.

Since it was launched in October 2011, more than 10 million passengers at 40 airports have used the PreCheck program, the TSA said.

Honolulu International is the only participating airport in Hawaii, involving only a checkpoint in the main terminal.

In a letter sent Monday to TSA Administrator John Pistole, Schatz said extending PreCheck to interisland flights would reduce the travel time for Hawaii residents, visitors and frequent business flyers, some of whom commute weekly or even daily.

“In addition, Hawaii has a unique need as an island state to provide efficient air travel between islands for our residents,” Schatz’s letter said. “Between 16,000 and 18,000 passengers travel daily between the four major islands; two-thirds of those trips originate in Hawaii rather than connect to or from a long-haul flight.”

Extending the expedited passenger screening from trans-Pacific trips to interisland flights would also ease travel for tourists, Schatz said.

“According to a 2010 survey conducted by Consensus Research, travelers would likely  take as many as three more flights per year if the ‘hassles’ in security screening were reduced,” the letter said.

Schatz’s letter said he applauded the TSA’s announcement last month that the PreCheck program was being extended from domestic flights to certain international ones.

“I urge you to consider prioritizing deployment of PreCheck by extending the program to additional lanes at Honolulu International Airport, other Hawaii airports, and additional airlines operating within the state that will benefit Hawaii residents and our interisland travel needs,” Schatz said.

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