TSA expects record number of passengers this summer

By Allen Cone   |   Updated July 31, 2017 at 2:36 PM
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July 31 (UPI) -- The Transportation Security Administration said Monday it's on a record pace this summer for the number of passenger screenings at U.S. airports.

The TSA announced more than 2.5 million passengers each day are anticipated to pass through security checkpoints from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Last week, the TSA set a weekly record for the most passengers and crew members screened -- 17,089,533.

The busiest travel day of the summer so far was June 30 -- the Friday before Independence Day -- with 2,647,714 passengers and crew screened. That was the TSA's third-busiest day ever.

During the first week in July, nearly three-quarters of a million people flew out of the three main airports surrounding the Washington, D.C., area.

"Securing the travel of millions of passengers daily remains our top priority," TSA Acting Administrator Huban A. Gowadia said in a statement. "TSA takes many security measures, seen and unseen, while working closely with industry partners such as airlines and airports to enhance the traveling experience and ensure every passenger arrives to their destination safely."

To handle the busier days, the TSA says it deploys additional personnel, canine teams and technology where needed. Compared with last year, 2,000 more screeners and 50 extra canine teams are in use.

"TSA is tasked with a complex, critical security mission that can only be accomplished through close collaboration with stakeholders and partners," Gowadia said. "We will not compromise our security mission of protecting air travelers as we face an evolving threat by a determined enemy."

And the TSA's work is to become more complicated with new screening procedures for carry-on luggage at airports nationwide.

In the next few weeks, passengers will be required to put all electronic devices larger than a cellphone -- including tablets and e-readers -- in a separate bin during security screening. Previously, this only applied to laptops.

The enhanced security has been tested at 10 U.S. airports, and in June it applied to nearly 280 airports in more than 100 countries that fly into the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security, the parent agency of the TSA, first imposed the restriction in March for flights from eight Middle Eastern and African countries because of an increased terror threat with those devices.

"It is critical for TSA to constantly enhance and adjust security screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats and keep passengers safe," Gowadia said in a statement.

Last month, TSA began testing a new baggage-scanning technology that can look through luggage for bombs and weapons and create a 3D image of the bag's contents.

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