Already struggling with long passenger lines on many weekends and holidays, the Owen Roberts International Airport on Grand Cayman may have increased wait times as new security measures are put in place.
The security enhancements, to comply with June 28 directives from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration regarding flights arriving in the U.S., require closer scrutiny of electronic devices “larger than a cellphone,” according to the airports authority.
The airports authority, which implemented the more stringent security checks Friday, asks all passengers to check in for flights at least two hours before their scheduled departure.
Cayman airport travelers will now have to place items such as iPads, iPad minis and Kindles in separate bins for screening, similar to what is done now with laptops.
The United States TSA policy seeks to reduce the number of bags requiring manual inspection, the airports authority said.
“While passengers get used to the new system, processing time may be a little slower than normal, especially during peak travel periods such as weekends and holidays,” airports security chief Shane Bothwell said in a statement Friday.
The TSA security measures were described in a press release from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on June 28.
The measures include “heightened screening” of personal electronic devices, increased security around aircraft and passenger screening area and using additional technology, as well as K-9 screening, for passengers at “preclearance locations.”
“These enhanced security measures will help to secure all commercial flights departing from 280 airports that serve as the last points of departure to the U.S.,” the U.S. Homeland Security statement read. “Those stakeholders who fail to adopt these requirement with certain time frames run the risk of additional security restrictions being imposed.”
The additional restrictions, according to reports in the U.S. press, could include requirements that personal electronic devices be placed in luggage and no longer allowed to be used in the plane’s cabin.
The TSA was not specific about what threats the airline industry faced that necessitated the changes, only that a “spider web” of threats to commercial aviation have been seen in recent months and years. The additional security will affect 105 countries, an average of 2,100 daily flights and some 325,000 daily passengers, Homeland Security officials said.