The number of people scanned in security screening lines at U.S. airports rose by 67 percent during the three months through September, meaning that more than 1 million more people than in the same period in 2018 were being screened at the airports in three major U.S. cities.
The heightened screening was linked to the heightened threat environment that security authorities put in place after the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, England, in March.
There were 54 million people screened at U.S. airports between February and September this year, compared with 39 million during the same period in 2018, according to data from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Los Angeles International Airport recorded the largest increase in travelers screened, with a 99 percent rise from March to September. The number of people screened at Los Angeles International Airport at 39 million grew by 17 percent since March. New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport grew by 12 percent over the same period.
The data does not include passengers who pass through a TSA checkpoint without a security screening, which is expected to grow over the next year as a new federal mandate takes effect.
The new rule requires that all carry-on liquids and gels, including toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, tampons and other liquid items, be subject to random screening and not be permitted in the bins normally reserved for carry-on bags. A spokesman for the TSA said that the agency believes the new rule will slow down passengers’ trips through the checkpoint.