WATERTOWN — Travelers signed up with the Transportation Security Administration’s pre-check program, which reduces steps for security screenings at airports, can use it at the Watertown International Airport starting next month.
Manager Grant W. Sussey said the administration will implement its blended lanes initiative at the airport, an effort designed to allow air passengers to use its pre-check program, also known as TSA Pre, at smaller airports. He was unaware of the specific date when blended lanes would be incorporated.
The pre-check program allows travelers to keep on their shoes, belts and lightweight jackets and keep their electronics and eligible travel-sized liquids, gels and aerosols in their carry-on bags while undergoing screening. Fliers who participate typically use dedicated lanes at large airports like the one in Syracuse, but not all airports have them. According to the administration, the blended lanes initiative allows airports that lack lanes specified for pre-check program screenings, like the Watertown International Airport, to perform them at traditional lanes.
“I think it’s great that they recognized that we’ve gotta get our customers safety and efficiently to their destination. It shows that they’re being proactive in trying to get people processed as quickly” and safely, said Jefferson County Legislator Philip N. Reed.
The administration has been implementing the blended lane initiative at small airports across the country, including airports in Trenton, N.J., and Atlantic City, which received it last week.
Larger airports historically have used blended lanes during off-peak times when traffic is too low to warrant lanes specific for program members, according to the administration.
More than 200 airports participate in the program, according to the administration. Travelers can join it by paying $85, which provides the service for five years, and undergo an in-person background check.
The Watertown Airport received another boost with American Airlines adding a third flight from the Watertown International Airport to the Philadelphia International Airport for the holiday season.
Mr. Sussey said the airline will offer the third flight on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from Dec. 18 to Jan. 6. With an extra flight option, Mr. Sussey said he anticipates an uptick in travelers flying out of the Watertown International Airport.
“We are very thankful American Airlines decided to do that,” Mr. Sussey said.