WASHINGTON — Passengers are moving through Newark Airport security checkpoints a lot quicker since the installation of new TSA smart lanes — and similar relief is on the way at JFK, a top Port Authority official said Thursday.
“These screening lanes can move people through more quickly – about a 30 percent improvement in throughput,” Jeanne Olivier, who is in charge of security operations New York’s three regional airports, told The Post.
“That’s a very good thing. However, we see that [they] are not requiring fewer screeners.”
United Airlines funded the 17 Automated Screening Lanes, which use modern technology and larger bins, in partnership with the TSA.
By the end of May, passengers at John F. Kennedy airport will get 19 of the smart lanes, funded by Delta and American airlines.
Olivier was in Washington to testify before a House Homeland Security panel on the progress of the lanes and to ask Congress to keep up funding for TSA and airport security.
The smart lines still require the same number of TSA screeners to operate, she said. It’s not yet clear if passenger confusion about how to use the new screening system is preventing a reduction in manpower.
“Don’t cut back on screeners,” Olivier said. “The passenger traffic is growing and it’s going to continue to be important.”
The smart lanes were an outgrowth of major embarrassing backups at airports during the last spring break.
The TSA is deploying these automated screening lanes at 21 of the nation’s largest airports in effort to speed up wait times but also reduce congestion for terrorist targeting.
“As we have seen with recent attacks around the world, terrorists are increasingly targeting public spaces with large crowds of people to inflict the maximum number of casualties and anything we can do to reduce that target is a good thing,” said Rep. John Katko (R-NY), who chairs a House Homeland Security subcommittee examining TSA innovation.