Airports across the country are gearing up for what is expected to be one of the busiest holiday travel seasons, topping the 1.9 billion passengers that traveled through North America last year. Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) President and CEO, Kevin M. Burke joined the TSA Acting Deputy Administrator, Patricia Cogswell, and Airlines for America Senior Vice President and Legislative and Regulatory Policy Sharon Pinkerton, recently to kick off the holiday season and provide their outlook.
So how will airport operations handle this influx of passengers and streamline their travel experience?
The number one goal, according to ACI-NA, “is to ensure the safe, secure, and efficient movement of travelers – especially during the holiday season. Partnership is key to our success.”
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects more than 26.8 million passengers and crew members in the 10 days between November 22nd and December 2nd, which is a four percent increase over 2018. According to Airlines for America (A4A), they expect to see an additional 850 flights added to this time period compared to last year. That is an additional 108,000 seats per day. Managing this boost in travel will require close collaboration within the airport ecosystem.
During the press conference, Burke pointed to the partnership between airports working with TSA and U.S. Customs Border Patrol (CBP) to “design and deploy innovative processes, procedures, and technology to further streamline the journey through the airports.” This includes investments in predictive technologies to better estimate wait times and security screenings.
Additional programs have been put into place to ensure a more predictable travel experience including the TSA PreCheck or CBP’s Global Entry for international travel. In just under a year, it will be required that all passengers are REAL ID compliant in order to travel, which also will make a significant impact on streamlining the processes throughout the airport.
To ensure safe holiday travel, Burke stresses that ongoing partnership will happen throughout the year. “We know millions of Americans will travel to see loved ones the next few weeks, and we will continue our close coordination with our government partners to provide a safe and efficient holiday travel season,” he concluded.