Binternational Air Clearance Speeding Up
By Blanca Venegas
The US Transportation Security Administration continues to develop new and efficient ways for passengers to clear Miami International Airport security checkpoints faster by using the existing infrastructure with modified and improved security practices.
Last month, a new eight-lane checkpoint was added in the D-FIS (customs) area that gives Miami a "seamless transition" for arriving international passengers who are connecting to domestic flights by allowing them to clear the federal inspection section and make that connection without going back into the public area.
"It’s a very efficient transition and, because of the design of that checkpoint, eight lanes gives us potential growth for the future," said Mark Hatfield, MIA federal security director in the Transportation Security Administration.
"At our busiest time we operate six lanes," Mr. Hatfield said. "It really smoothes out that international arrival and domestic connection process that so many thousands of passengers do every day."
According to Mr. Hatfield, more than 8,000 passengers pass through the new security checkpoint during its busiest day.
Plans to expand existing checkpoints are also in process, he said, citing plans to add more lanes to other security checkpoints.
"D-4, which is fairly new and opened a couple of months ago, is a small two-lane checkpoint and we are working on plans to add a third lane to give us more capacity," he said.
"At D-3, we got plans to add a fifth lane to that four-lane checkpoint," he added.
"There’s incremental expansion, but no major new checkpoints in the drawing table right now."
Furthermore, the use of canines as an additional screening layer has been added to the pre-check lane — expedited screening — during a random selection process.
"We started this a week ago," Mr. Hatfield said. "We’ll run two-hour periods during peak travel and peak passenger volume."
"TSA is looking for ways to increase efficiency so that, instead of having to build more checkpoints to deal with a growing airport like MIA, we can absorb that growth in the existing checkpoints," Mr. Hatfield said.
Miami Today reported in March that the average wait for a passenger to clear security was 12.1 minutes, down from 14.2 minutes last year.To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.