Officials with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) have jointly announced significant changes that will improve the experience of travelers departing Kahului Airport (OGG) on the island of Maui.
“With continued high demand for air travel and no signs that it is slowing anytime soon, TSA has partnered with HDOT to make improvements to our security operations,” said acting TSA Federal Security Director for Hawaii Scot Thaxton. “These changes have been made to enhance security while ensuring the best experience for travelers, the airport community and our employees.”
TSA has added Maui-based Passenger Screening Canine (PSC) teams at OGG. These highly-skilled dogs who are paired with TSA handlers are trained to detect explosives and explosive components. They utilize their keen sense of smell when working in and around travelers and their belongings in a busy transportation environment.
The canine teams have undergone more than 16 weeks of intensive training at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas. They have completed additional training at OGG to acclimate to the airport environment.
The Maui PSC teams are among more than 200 nationwide and join Honolulu-based PSC teams in Hawaii. TSA reminds travelers that they are working dogs and they should not be petted or fed by anyone except their handlers.
Due to increased numbers of TSA PreCheck-eligible travelers departing OGG, TSA has modified its screening operations by opening a dedicated TSA PreCheck checkpoint at Checkpoint 2, which is located closer to the baggage claim area of the airport. Travelers eligible for TSA PreCheck should go to Checkpoint 2 to be screened. Checkpoint 1 will continue to offer general screening for travelers departing OGG.
TSA will have the flexibility to convert the type of screening offered at either checkpoint throughout the day based on the projected number of travelers and the type of screening they are eligible for.
In August, HDOT and its airline partners installed a 200-foot-long tent to provide shade and comfort for travelers fronting the security checkpoint at OGG. The 200-footlong tent is supplemented by a temporary 120-footlong rental tent provided by Maui County’s Office of the Mayor.
The HDOT tent installation included trenching to fortify the footing of the tent and ensure its ability to withstand high winds. As a long-term improvement, HDOT is in the design phase for a new security screening checkpoint at the south end of the ticket lobby. The new facility will house multiple TSA screening lanes, enclose the existing security checkpoint and provide air conditioning, and renovate the existing bus terminal canopy.
Technology currently in use at OGG includes two computed tomography (CT) scanners to screen travelers’ carry-on luggage, four Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) units, Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), which screens travelers for metallic and non-metallic items concealed in layers of clothing or on the body that may pose a security threat on an aircraft, walk-through metal detectors, X-ray units to screen carry-on luggage, explosive trace detection units and bottle liquid scanners.
Since July 1, TSA at OGG has screened slightly more travelers – about 1% – when compared to 2019. Nationally, the average stands at 89% of pre-pandemic levels for the same period.
TSA is currently screening an average of 2.23 million people per day at airports across the country. This is a 14% increase over last year’s volumes, but still down from pre-pandemic 2019 levels when TSA was screening approximately 2.49 million people nationally on average per day.