US relaxes airport screenings for elderly

The US government is easing the airport screening process for travelers 75 and older, beginning to roll out new rules just in time for the long Memorial Day holiday weekend, an official said Friday.

From this weekend the elderly will no longer have to doff shoes, belts and jackets as they pass through security checkpoints at New York's three major airports: John F. Kennedy International, La Guardia, and Newark Liberty.

The Transportation Security Administration has said rollout of the new measures to the rest of the country could follow.

"Seventy-five-plus is in the process of being rolled out and customers will see it over the course of the summer and beyond," said David Castelveter, chief spokesman of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Castelveter said he did not have a precise timetable, but the New York rollout was expected to occur through the upcoming three-day weekend that unofficially kicks off the US summer vacation season.

The 75-plus measures have already been successfully tested in the Chicago, Denver, Orlando and Portland airports.

Last September the TSA decided to allow children 12 and under to pass through screening without removing their shoes.

The enhanced TSA airport screening was established after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States in which the attackers used airplanes as weapons.

The Al-Qaeda attacks claimed 2976 lives in New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

AFP

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