A new proposal on Wednesday is being considered by the Senate
Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will allow some international travelers to bypass security during layovers.
The pilot program which is advancing in congress was put into place to boost tourism numbers closer to 2019 numbers for 2022. This legislation (S. 3375) would establish a task force to assist with COVID’s impact on international travel to the U.S. as well as open a new role of the assistant secretary for travel and tourism at the Department of Commerce.
The new program will mirror many other countries’ international screening procedures. Currently, TSA is obligated to screen international passengers arriving in the United States before moving on to their next destinations. The pilot will have no re-screening process as long as travelers don’t leave the airport.
A similar pilot program was passed by the House bill (H.R.4094) in September which has received support from both airports and airlines.
The pilot would also rely on dogs to detect COVID-19 at airports, which studies have shown they can detect in under a second with 94.3% sensitivity. Surprisingly this also includes asymptomatic people as well as those with a low viral load.
While the legislation hasn’t named the international airports yet, the pilot would ease TSA’s load at six international airports.