Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Burlington International Airport in New England, US, has deployed two credential authentication technology (CAT) units that authenticate the validity of travellers’ identification (ID), along with their flight information, in near real time.

The new technology units will scan a traveller’s photo identification to confirm the authenticity of the document, after which the system will confirm their flight status by cross-referencing it against the Secure Flight database.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at the airport will be informed about the ID’s validity whenever a passenger places their ID in the CAT unit.

Passengers who approach the TSA travel document checking podium need not show their boarding passes given that the CAT unit authenticates that the traveller is prescreened to travel out of the airport for a flight that day.

TSA’s Vermont Federal Security director Bruce McDonald said: “We’re thrilled to have this technology. It is going to enhance our detection capability for identifying fraudulent documents at security checkpoints here at Burlington International.

“The system also confirms the passenger’s flight status in near real time through a secured connection.”

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CAT units are capable of authenticating several thousand types of IDs, including passports, permanent resident cards and US visas, driver’s licenses and photo IDs issued by state motor vehicle departments.

They can also validate military common access cards, uniformed services ID cards, retired military ID cards and Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler ID cards.

Passengers are required to have their REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or other acceptable forms of identification by the 1 October 2021 deadline. The CAT will not accept a driver’s license after this deadline if it is not REAL ID-compliant.

Each CAT unit costs approximately $27,000.

It comprises a passport reader, ID card reader, Federal personal identity verification ID card reader, stand, monitor, and UV light.

TSA officers at Boston-Logan International Airport, which has 25 CAT units, first began using this technology in December 2019.

Bradley International in Hartford also has five CAT units under operation.

By December 2020, TSA is aiming to install 27 more CAT units throughout New England’s major airports.