Senators Seek to Strengthen Innovative Airport Security Programs in Age of COVID-19

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Security, Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, have introduced S. 3730, the Registered Traveler Act of 2020 to modernize the Registered Traveler (RT) program and strengthen aviation security through innovations born out of the success of RT public-private partnerships. The RT program was authorized by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act in 2001. The first pilot RT program was launched by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in 2005 to drive security innovations and improve air traveler experience, with several iterations being developed over the last 15 years. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted day-to-day transportation, and air travel in particular, on a scale that few of us could have imagined,” said Senator Sullivan. “Looking toward a post-COVID-19 world, we need rethink how we can infuse private sector innovation into vitally-important aviation security measures and identify ways to better facilitate safe and reliable air travel. In spite of the success achieved by the RT program over the past 15 years toward these ends, RT lacks a clear legal framework that can sustain its operation into the future. Senators Sinema, Young, Rosen, Wicker and I hope to put the RT program on firm footing so it can continue to innovate and serve American travelers.”

“Robust, innovative airport security screenings are critical to Arizonans’ safety and our state’s economy. Our bill strengthens security measures while creating jobs and growing Arizona’s economy through public-private partnerships,” said Senator Sinema. 

“By encouraging innovation through the Registered Traveler Act of 2020, we can help improve the efficiency of airport security and enable passengers to navigate security with less human contact and fewer crowds, which is more important than ever in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Senator Young. “I’m proud to join with my colleagues on the Commerce committee to introduce this bipartisan legislation.”   


The Registered Traveler Act of 2020 would solidify the authorization for the Registered Traveler (RT) program, define the TSA’s role in approving and supervising RT programs, and grant RT providers access to technology and information to improve security and traveler experience at airport security checkpoints. 

Nearly five million Americans are currently benefiting from services provided under the RT program, offering them less hassle and wait-time at security checkpoints at more than 30 airports across the country.

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