The DHS (Department of Homeland Security) will require air carriers to commence asking passengers bound for the US additional screening questions on more than 2,000 daily flights starting on 26 October.
The questions posed to them would be about the purpose of their trip and many others the government had not made public.
Many US airline operators, however, have been doing this for quite some time with America-bound passengers on many of their flights. Carriers, including Delta Air Lines and Cathay Pacific Airways, are telling passengers heading to the US to give them at least three hours time before departure to check security.
According to Emirates, the ‘pre-screening interviews’ will take place at check-in counters for passengers on direct flights and at the boarding gate for passengers changing planes in Dubai to fly to the US.
The changes to the screening procedure are part of a wide-ranging effort of Trump administration to increase what the DHS terms as the ‘global baseline’ for the security of aviation, and was flagged off by John Kelly, former Homeland Security Secretary who had become Donald Trump’s chief of staff in July.
It is also one of the measures of the US Administration to raise security protocols at airports. It was announced by the DHS this summer that people travelling to the US would be subject to additional screening. Four months was given to carriers to comply with the mandate for additional interrogation of passengers. New rules will also be enforced on means to secure checked baggage.
A spokesman for Airlines for America, the US airlines’ trade group, was quoted by the Bloomberg as saying that the DHS offered flexibility to help make sure that carriers stay compliant with the new interrogation policy.
Vaughn Jennings, its spokesman, said that the carriers would continue working with DHS officials to best attain their shared security goals while reducing the burden on the travellers.
According to the US Travel Association, travellers would gain if they knew that such policy changes are the outcome of ‘specific vulnerabilities’ in air security.
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