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The Chertoff Group

Record Numbers of Summer Air Travelers Take to the Skies

As summer travel season kicked-off, Lee Kair discussed the nuances of successfully navigating the TSA checkpoint with FOX Live Now host, Stephanie Coueignoux. Record numbers were expected to travel Memorial Day weekend, with 2.9 million passengers on Friday, May 24, and an overall increase of more than six percent from last year during the entire holiday travel period.

“Pack your patience,” Kair said. “It’s unfortunate that we are seeing a lack of patience and an increase in disruptions at checkpoints and in the air. TSA and FAA take a zero tolerance posture on this.”

Kair said threats to aviation security are the focus of TSA officers. That means explosives, knives and firearms. Last year officers detected over 6,700 firearms and they are on track this year to exceed that number. Most firearms that are discovered in carry-ons are loaded. TSA and local law enforcement take this very seriously and violators are subject to a civil penalty of up to $15,000.

Kair says start packing with an empty bag to avoid accidentally taking a gun or ammunition on board.

Kair also addressed privacy and the use of biometric facial recognition technology. TSA’s use of biometrics at the checkpoint for identity verification is faster and more effective than humans are at matching an ID with a face. TSA has filed privacy impact statements, which are available for public review and immediately deletes photo data.

Watch the full interview here.

Lee Kair is an aviation security expert at The Chertoff Group, where he leads the Transportation & Innovation business line. Kair previously led TSA’s U.S. security operations and served as federal security director at Orlando International and Tampa International Airports. He also served as the Department of Homeland Security’s attaché́ to Germany.The Chertoff Group works with transportation security and biometric identity clients.  

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