DHS Announces Enhanced Aviation Security Measures for Flights to the United States

Alexander J. Segal's picture

On June 28, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced new aviation security measures for flights to the United States [PDF version]. It is important to understand that these aviation security measures are not immigration-related, and that they will affect both foreigners and U.S. citizens flying into the United States. We previously discussed measures specific to certain airports in the Middle East and North Africa here on site [see blog]. In this post, we will briefly examine the DHS's new aviation security measures.

Aviation Security

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly determined it necessary to implement the new aviation security measures “[i]n light of evaluated intelligence.” These security measures will apply to all commercial flights to the United States. The new aviation security measures will affect 105 countries, approximately 280 airports, 180 total airlines, 2,100 average daily flights, and 325,000 average daily passengers.

The DHS explains that the enhanced aviation security measures will include, but not be limited to:

  • Enhanced passenger screening;
  • Heightened screening of personal electronic devices;
  • Increased security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas;
  • Deployment of advanced technology;
  • Expanded canine screening; and
  • Establishment of additional preclearance locations.

The DHS explained that it will work with stakeholders to ensure that the enhanced aviation security measures are properly and fully implemented. Stakeholders that fail to fully implement the enhanced aviation security measures will “run the risk of additional security restrictions being imposed.”

Interestingly, the DHS did not expand its laptop and other similarly-sized device ban despite speculation that it would do so. That should come as welcome news for travelers flying to the United States from abroad. I will update the blog if DHS provides further updates on this issue.