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AAAE Security SmartBrief March 22, 2012

April 11, 2012

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Lawmakers push TSA to expand expedited screening programs 
Some lawmakers are putting pressure on the Transportation Security Administration to increase the number of travelers participating in expedited screening programs. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., asked TSA Administrator John Pistole when between 20% and one-third of travelers would be enrolled; he did not provide a date. ?For too long, travelers with low-risk profiles have been screened no differently than those with high-risk profiles in a one-size-fits-all system,? Landrieu said during a hearing this week. Meanwhile, observers say the process for enrolling in the programs may be too difficult. Travelers must be frequent fliers on participating airlines to be in the PreCheck program, and participants in the Global Entry program must go through background interviews conducted at only a limited number of locations. Bloomberg (3/21)

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Security Update

Colorado airport will get scanner this spring 
Colorado’s Aspen-Pitkin County Airport will receive a full-body scanner this spring. The scanner will have advanced imaging technology and display only a generic image of travelers. Meanwhile, airport improvements will start this spring, including the building of a connector between the airport taxiway and the runway. The Aspen Times (Colo.) (3/22)

Editorial: TSA shifts from one-size-fits-all screening 
The Transportation Security Administration’s expedited screening programs and recent decision to relax screening for elderly travelers shows that it is moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach to screening, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board writes. The board noted that the changes are likely responses to public backlash against screening procedures and profiling. “As TSA screeners look for the terrorist needle in the airline-passenger haystack, they have to be sensitive to civil rights issues as well as privacy concerns. Profiling is an easy but unacceptable solution,” the board writes. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (3/22)

Trends & Technology

Passengers are making do without Wi-Fi 
While airlines try to hammer out a way to provide Wi-Fi without losing money, passengers are finding other ways to stay entertained in-flight. “Airlines have not been able to find a business model they like that doesn’t cost them money to provide the service,” said airline industry consultant Michael Planey. Chicago Tribune (3/20)

Airlines tinker with cabin pressure to find comfort zone 
“The rate at which the cabin” of an airliner “is pressurized appears to have a significant” effect on the comfort of passengers, this feature notes. That explains why Boeing and Airbus are tinkering with the pressure level on planes in an attempt to provide a more comfortable flying experience. The humidity level is also being reviewed. (U.K.) (3/19)

US Airways, Philadelphia cite progress on airport expansion deal 
US Airways and the city of Philadelphia released a joint statement Monday saying that recent talks over the cost to each of expanding Philadelphia International Airport are showing progress and that they are working out their differences. The city has asked U.S. Airways to agree to a new 15-year airport lease or risk higher airport-use rates, which caused the airline to threaten to take some of its business elsewhere. “US Airways has reiterated its commitment to continue to serve the Philadelphia region, provided the cost of operating at PHL remains affordable, and to continue to support the development of the airport to improve efficiency and travelers? experience,? said the statement. The Philadelphia Inquirer (3/20)

Policy & Regulatory

FAA certifies Boeing’s GEnx-engine Dreamliner 
Boeing has received formal clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration to begin selling its 787-8 Dreamliner equipped with General Electric GEnx engines. The FAA approved Boeing’s Dreamliner equipped with Rolls Royce PLC engines last year. Japan Airlines is expected to take delivery of the first GE-equipped planes, followed by Air India. The Wall Street Journal (3/20)

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