Starting this summer, some air travellers in Canada will no longer need to take their personal belongings out of their carry-on luggage during airport security screening.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra made the announcement Tuesday for a new Verified Traveller Program being launched by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) that will take off in June.
The new lines will allow eligible travellers to keep laptops, large electronics, and compliant liquids and gels in their carry-on at security screening checkpoints, according to a press release from Transport Canada. They also won’t need to take their shoes, belts and jackets off during the screening process.
Members of NEXUS and Global Entry, airport staff, aircrews, RCMP and police officers with IDs as well as active members of the Canadian and U.S. military, including reservists, would be eligible for these benefits.
Children aged 17 and younger and seniors of 75 years and older who are accompanying verified travellers will also be able to bypass the extra security steps.
The verified traveller program will cover roughly 1.7 million travellers plus the accompanying children and seniors, said Alghabra.
“Not only will this increase the efficiency for those verified travellers, but it will also increase efficiency for other travelers,” he said.
“When you have this streamlining process, it will enable CATSA to allocate resources accordingly and focus more on the non-verified travelers so they can be expedited.”
Alghabra said they are also exploring other options for travellers to be able to register with the Verified Traveller Program.
The screening lines will be available at six international airports in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal.
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Transport Canada said the new program, which replaces the current Trusted Traveller Program, will help ease congestion over time and offer a “faster and more efficient screening experience.”
The program will be gradually implemented at the select airports between June 7 to 21, Alghabra said.
The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority has been testing new technology to allow passengers to keep liquids and large electronics in their carry-on luggage during security screening at the airport.
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Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, airports are aiming to end restrictions on liquids and large electronics in carry-on bags by June 2024, according to a government announcement last December.
The U.K. says new technology will help expand the current limit of liquids of 100 millilitres to up to two litres and also let travellers keep large electrical items inside their luggage during the security screening.
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Canadian airports and airlines are bracing for a hot summer travel season ahead as they attempt to bounce back from the chaos of long lines and delays that were seen across the country last year.
Travellers might have a smoother ride this time around as the air travel sector rolls out a series of measures, from hiring more staff to technological advancements.
There’s also increased pressure on accountability as strengthened air passenger rights measures proposed by the federal government loom.
“The next few months are going to be very busy as the summer season is about to begin and I’m confident with the preparation that has been taken place by airports, airlines, CATSA and other organizations that we are ready for the summer season,” Alghabra said.
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