TSA at Richmond International Airport using new checkpoint technology

TSA at Richmond International Airport using new checkpoint technology
The TSA has five CAT units in use at the airport. (Source: TSA)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Transportation Security Administration officers at Richmond International Airport (RIC) are using Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) that confirms the validity of a traveler’s identification and confirms their flight information in real time.

The TSA has five CAT units in use at the airport.

The TSA has five CAT units in use at the airport.
The TSA has five CAT units in use at the airport. (Source: TSA)

A CAT unit consists of:

  • Passport reader
  • An ID card reader
  • A Federal personal identity verification ID card reader
  • A monitor
  • A stand
  • UV light

When a traveler hands the TSA officer their ID, the officer places it in the CAT unit, which scans the ID and informs the TSA officer whether the ID is valid.

In most cases, travelers who approach the TSA travel document checking podium do not have to show their boarding pass because the CAT unit verifies that the traveler is pre-screened to travel out of the airport for a flight that day; however, one may be requested for travelers under the age of 18 and/or those with ID issues.

Even with TSA’s use of CAT, travelers still need to check-in with their airline in advance and bring their boarding pass to their gate agent to show the airline representative before boarding their flight.

CAT units authenticate several thousand types of IDs including:

  • Passports
  • Military common access cards
  • Retired military ID cards
  • Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler ID cards
  • Uniformed services ID cards
  • Permanent resident cards
  • U.S. visas and driver’s licenses and photo IDs issued by state motor vehicle departments

Each unit costs a little less than $30,000.

The TSA says it is critical that travelers have their REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses or other acceptable form of identification by the Oct. 1, 2021.

The CAT units will not accept a driver’s license after Oct. 1, 2021, if it is not REAL ID-compliant.

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