- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Frequent fliers started getting their eyes and fingerprints scanned at two Washington-area airports yesterday for a fast track through security checkpoints.

Passengers now can have their fingerprints and irises digitally encoded into a Registered Traveler card at airport enrollment stations.

The card allows them to pass through special lanes at security checkpoints for faster access to flights at Washington Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

The Registered Traveler program at the two airports is administered by Verified Identity Pass Inc. in cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. The New York company calls the program and card “Clear.”

Steven Brill, chief executive officer of Verified Identity Pass, said airports are just the beginning for the security cards. He envisions a much larger role for them to gain entry to government buildings, sports stadiums and other sites that use security checkpoints.

“Airports are the first, most visible instance of this,” Mr. Brill said.

Dulles and Reagan airports are the 14th and 15th airports to get the Clear cards. Orlando International Airport was the first, beginning in the summer of 2005.

Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport officials are considering adopting a Registered Traveler program, a spokesman said yesterday.

“We’re starting at airports because we see this is where the need is most obvious,” Mr. Brill said.

Verified Identity Pass is paying the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority a base fee of $500,000 a year to administer the Clear program at both airports. The company won the concessions contract through competitive bids.

Registered Traveler programs also are run by competitors Unisys Corp. in Reno, Nev., and Vigilant Solutions in Jacksonville, Fla.

Other Clear enrollment stations in the Washington area are operating in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill and the American Express Travel Service office at 1501 K St. NW. Travelers also can register online at flyclear.com.

The special airport security lanes are scheduled to open next month at Dulles and Reagan airports.

So far, about 102,000 travelers have registered for the program nationwide, including 2,500 in the Washington area.

“It’s been a major convenience,” said Ron Weiner, a recently retired industry association president, who acquired a Registered Traveler card in Orlando.

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