Travelling to the US soon? Here’s a rundown of the new security measures for airline passengers
“With this announcement, we send a clear message that inaction is not an option.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the United States has announced details of enhanced security measures on all commercial flights into the country in order to “raise the baseline of global aviation security to keep the travelling public safe”.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the DHS said that in light of evaluated intelligence, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly has determined it is necessary to implement enhanced security measures for all commercial flights to the United States.
These measures, both seen and unseen, include enhanced screening of passengers and electronic devices as well as heightened security standards for aircraft and airports and will apply to approximately 2,100 flights that arrive daily in the United States from 280 airports in 105 countries.
In the statement, it was revealed that the enhanced security measures include but are not limited to:
- Enhancing overall passenger screening;
- Conducting heightened screening of personal electronic devices;
- Increasing security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas; and
- Deploying advanced technology, expanding canine screening, and establishing additional preclearance locations.
According to Reuters, airlines will have 21 days to put the relevant measures in place and will have 120 days to comply with other security measures, including enhanced screening of airline passengers.
The measures are believed to have been introduced in an effort to prevent an expansion to the ban on laptops and large electronic devices that had been applied to flights from ten airports in eight different countries earlier this year.
Speaking at the announcement of the new measures on Wednesday, Kelly said that “today is just a starting point” and there will be consequences for airlines who don’t cooperate.
“With this announcement, we send a clear message that inaction is not an option,” Kelly said.
“Those who choose not to cooperate or are slow to adopt these measures could be subject to other restrictions—including a ban on electronic devices on their airplanes, or even a suspension of their flights to the United States.
“However, we expect all airlines will work with us to keep their aircraft, their crew, and their passengers safe. I have spent months engaging with our closest allies and foreign partners on this issue, and many of them have expressed strong support for this effort.
“While the actions we are announcing today will improve the security of U.S.-bound flights, I am hopeful other nations will follow suit. Unless we all raise our security standards, terrorists—who see commercial aviation as the greatest takedown—will find and attack the weakest link.
“Together, we have the opportunity to raise the baseline on aviation security globally, and we can do it in a manner that will not unduly inconvenience the flying public.”