New technology that confirms the validity of a traveler’s photo identification and confirms their flight information is being used by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at some of the security checkpoints at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).
TSA currently has 16 Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) units at PHX and travelers can expect to see them in use at multiple security checkpoints. TSA at PHX began using the technology in January.
When a CAT unit is in use, the traveler will be asked to provide their photo ID. The TSA officer will insert the photo ID into the CAT unit where it will be scanned and analyzed.
CAT units are able to verify whether the traveler’s ID is authentic, fraudulent or expired. In addition, CAT is linked electronically to the Secure Flight database, which provides confirmation of the traveler’s flight details, ensuring they are ticketed for travel that day. CAT also notes the type of screening (such as TSA PreCheck) the traveler is eligible for, all without a boarding pass.
“Through the use of Credential Authentication Technology, TSA officers have another tool that provides real-time fraudulent ID detection capabilities while confirming the identity and flight information of the traveler,” said TSA Federal Security Director for Arizona Jerry Agnew. “We welcome this additional layer of security and enhancement to the travel document checking process.”
Even with TSA’s use of CAT, travelers still need to check-in with their airline and show their boarding pass to the airline gate agent before boarding their flight.
A CAT unit consists of the passport reader, an ID card reader, a Federal personal identity verification ID card reader, a monitor, a stand and a UV light. Each unit costs approximately $27,000 and is programmed to read and scan more than 2,500 different types of IDs.
TSA plans to have more than 500 CAT units deployed at more than 40 airports nationwide by the end of February 2020. CAT units will not be installed at every checkpoint lane at any given airport.