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Homeland Security

Aviation Security

Aviation Security

Improving Aviation Security

In response to both 9/11 and evolving threats, and with the help and support of Congress, DHS has significantly adapted and enhanced its ability to detect threats through a multi-layered, risk-based system.

Today nearly 51,000 Transportation Security Officers (TSOs), Transportation Security Inspectors, and Behavior Detection Officers serve on the frontlines at more than 450 U.S. airports.  Prior to 9/11, limited federal security requirements existed for cargo and baggage screening.

Today, 100 percent of all checked and carry-on baggage is now screened for explosives and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) continually assesses intelligence to develop countermeasures in order to enhance its multiple layers of security at airports and onboard aircraft.

Enhancing  a Secure Travel Experience

Today, DHS requires all airlines flying to the U.S. from foreign countries to provide Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Records prior to departure and has expanded trusted traveler programs, expediting travel for passengers who provide biometric identification and pass rigorous, recurrent security checks.

More than 2 million passengers have received expedited screening through TSA Pre√™ security lanes since the initiative began in October 2011. TSA Pre√™ is currently available in 18 airports for select frequent flyers of participating airlines and members of CBP Trusted Traveler programs.  United Airlines, US Airways, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines offer benefits of TSA Pre√™ to their eligible frequent travelers.

Secure Flight

As an additional layer of security, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Secure Flight program conducts passenger watch list matching for 100 percent of covered U.S. aircraft operator and foreign air carrier flights into, out of, and within the United States, as well as international point to point flights operated by covered domestic air carriers to identify any passengers who may pose a threat to aviation or national security and designate them for enhanced screening or, as appropriate, prohibit them from boarding an aircraft.

Under the TSA Secure Flight program, fully implemented in November 2010, DHS conducts passenger watch list matching for 100 percent of covered U.S. aircraft operator and foreign air carrier flights flying into, out of, or within the U.S.  This program identifies individuals who may pose a threat to aviation or national security and designates them for enhanced screening or, as appropriate, prohibits them from boarding an aircraft.

Although TSA does not conduct passenger screening abroad, it requires airports that serve as the last point of departure to the U.S. to meet stringent security standards. TSA assesses the security programs of all U.S. and foreign air carriers that serve last points of departure. 

  • In fiscal year (FY) 2011, TSA conducted more than 100 airport assessments and more than 1,900 air carrier inspections to evaluate the implementation of international and/or TSA requirements for flights to the United States.
  • To date in FY 2012, TSA has completed more than 70 airport assessments and more than 1,000 air carrier inspections. TSA also conducts international aviation security training for countries around the world, focusing on risk-based security strategies, including cargo security, screening techniques, vulnerability assessments and airport security management. 
Last Published Date: October 31, 2013
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