Checkpoint screening at Islip’s MacArthur Airport speeds up with new technology


New technology now in play at MacArthur Airport’s TSA screening checkpoint promises to save travelers a ton of time, while decreasing their exposure to germs, town and federal officials said.

The TSA’s new Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) validates a traveler’s photo ID, and connects that information to an appropriate flight reservation prior to allowing the person to proceed through screening into the sterile area of the airport.

The new system can scan some 2,500 different IDs and passports, including U.S. and Canadian driver’s licenses, every state’s DMV photo IDs, standard passports and Permanent Residence/Resident Alien cards.

“Credential Authentication Technology is a tool that helps our TSA officers detect fraudulent IDs, and quickly confirm the traveler’s flight information,” said Robert Duffy, TSA’s federal security director at MacArthur.

“It’s an additional layer of security, that also minimizes time spent handling various documents, and enabling air customers to move quickly through screening and board their flights,” he added.

Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter noted that the CAT units help minimize “a potential touch point by not requiring boarding passes at security.”

“The process will take just 3-12 seconds, which is a time-saver as our customers rediscover travel when the time is right for their circumstances,” she added.

Here’s how the new system works:

At the security checkpoint, a TSA officer asks a traveler to provide their photo ID, which the TSA officer inserts into the CAT unit for it to be scanned and analyzed. The flyer proceeds through the remainder of the screening process.

Passengers do not need their boarding passes at the checkpoint, but they still need to show their ticket to the airline gate agent before boarding their flight.

The CAT units are designed and programmed to verify if a traveler’s ID is authentic, fraudulent or expired. Additionally, CAT is linked electronically to the Secure Flight database, confirming the details of travel, ensuring the traveler is ticketed for that day, and indicating if the traveler is eligible for TSA PreCheck.

“This latest investment of Credential Authenticity Technology further indicates the TSA’s commitment to safety and security,” Carpenter said.