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Syracuse airport director recommends TSA PreCheck to reduce security lines

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News File Photo

The executive director of the Syracuse Hancock International Airport told a congressional panel in Washington Thursday that the addition of the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) PreCheck Enrollment System has been very successful in cutting down on security lines at the facility.

Christina Callahan's testimony before the Subcommittee on Transportation Security, chaired by Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is part of a series of congressional hearings aimed at addressing nationwide complaints about long lines at airports because of TSA issues. She told the lawmakers that nearly 40 percent of Hancock's passengers have enrolled in the TSA PreCheck since the airport added it last November.

"We're seeing wait times on average of anywhere between 12 to 15 minutes," Callahan said. "It really has helped to balance the distribution of PreCheck and non-PreCheck employees during those peak periods."

The TSA PreCheck system allows for a quicker screening process for some low-risk passengers who have passed its security-risk assessment. Callahan and the other airport and airline personnel who testified Thursday recommended an expansion of the system.

Katko has authored a bill that would do just that by allowing people to apply online and increasing the number of enrollment centers. But, the Republican congressman said the legislation is currently stalled due to "typical Washington antics."

Katko also called on his colleagues to pass another bill called the Checkpoint Optimization and Efficiency Act of 2016 that would give TSA personnel more flexibility to use the tools and resources they deem necessary to speed up the screening process.