The Transportation Security Administration announced on March 31 the implementation of its Secure Flight program, which shifts watch list matching responsibilities from individual aircraft operators to TSA. So far, TSA has assumed watch list matching responsibility only for passengers on domestic commercial flights, working with four aircraft operators, but it plans to add more carriers “in the coming months.” The big question: whether Secure Flight will somehow be merged with other programs which, if approved by Congress, will limit general aviation activity severely.
“The implementation of Secure Flight is a critical step toward mitigating threats we know exist in our aviation system,” said TSA Acting Administrator Gale Rossides. “Secure Flight improves security and protects passenger privacy and civil liberties by ensuring the confidentiality of government watch list matching protocols.”
Under Secure Flight, airlines will gather a passenger’s full name, date of birth, and gender when making an airline reservation to determine if the passenger is a match to the No Fly or Selectee lists. By providing the additional data elements of gender and date of birth, Secure Flight will more effectively help prevent misidentification of passengers who have similar names to individuals on the watch list, Rossides said.
In addition to addressing misidentification, Secure Flight “protects sensitive watch list data and enables officials to address security threats sooner, keeping air travel safer. By implementing one watch list matching system, the program provides a fair and consistent matching process across all airlines,” Rossides stated.
For information: www.tsa.gov/