Canada to trial new security line as air traffic swells

Thu Jun 9, 2016 4:57pm EDT
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By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL, June 9 (Reuters) - Canada will introduce a new kind of security line at airports in Montreal and Calgary later this year to move people through checkpoints more quickly as pressure rises in North America to reduce passenger bottlenecks.

The automated line, one element in a new checkpoint developed by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), is an example of how U.S. and Canadian airports are using technology to speed passenger flow despite complaints of insufficient numbers of screening staff.

The redesigned CATSA Plus checkpoint combines elements that exist separately at other airports such as electronic gates to screen passports and ceiling-mounted sensors to track the flow of passengers and display waiting times at line-ups, an authority spokesman said in an interview.

"We have to find new ways to keep security, which is our first priority, but also improve the passenger flow, the customer experience," said CATSA spokesman Mathieu Larocque.

The Montreal trial will start in late August with one line, but include elements of the CATSA Plus checkpoint such as a separate X-ray screening room where agents can view scans of carry-on bags remotely.

It also will use lines that automate the distribution of bins for carry-on bags at checkpoints to avoid screening bottlenecks because multiple bags can be checked at the same time. This would allow faster passengers to pass slower ones in security lines. (To see CATSA's video of how the system works, click here)

Automated lines exist in Europe and in the United States, where Delta Air Lines and the Transportation Security Administration recently opened two lanes in Atlanta's airport.

TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said at a U.S. Senate committee hearing on June 7 that the automated lines have improved efficiency at the checkpoints by 30 percent.   Continued...