US scraps baggage re-screening for international passengers

US lawmakers passed legislation Wednesday allowing officials to waive baggage re-screening requirements for international passengers arriving in the United States.

All passengers arriving at US airports currently must have their checked baggage re-screened if they are flying on to another domestic destination, in a process that leads many travellers to miss their connecting flights.

The "No-Hassle Flying Act" gives authority to the Transportation Security Administration to waive the re-screening of baggage that arrives from foreign airports that use US-equivalent baggage screening systems.

The new rules would first go into effect at 15 airports in Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean, which already use facilities pre-cleared by US authorities.

"This is a smart, efficient way to streamline travel, boost tourism and lower costs while maintaining the highest security standards," said Nicholas Calio, president of industry trade group Airlines For America.

"Our members fully support efforts to implement robust, reliable and intelligent screening systems that enhance security and make travel more convenient for customers at the same time."

Representative Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the new law if implemented would improve efficiency and "save taxpayer dollars by streamlining TSA's baggage screening procedures."

The US Senate passed the bill last month, and it now moves to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature.

Among the nine Canadian airports approved under the new legislation are Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.