Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) will become the first airport in the US since 9/11 to allow non-ticketed members of the public access to the secure, airside area of the airport on a regular basis starting next week.

In conjunction with the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), PIT has developed a program in which non-ticketed persons can get a “myPITpass” that enables them to go through security checkpoints and access the airport’s shops and restaurants between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. The first day of the program will be Sept. 5.

“This program is the first of its kind in the US and there are currently no plans to expand it to other airports at this time,” TSA spokesperson Mike England told ATW. “TSA did not need to hire additional personnel to accommodate this program and we have all the staff we need at PIT to handle the additional influx of people. TSA also does not anticipate that there will be any impact on checkpoint wait times.”

A member of the public will be able to access PIT’s airside area by checking in, showing a valid photo ID (driver’s license or passport) and having his or her name vetted against TSA’s no-fly list. The person will then be given a stamped myPITpass and will have to go through a security checkpoint as a boarding passenger would.

PIT spokesperson Bob Kerlik noted to ATW that PIT has had an annual one-day “open house” for the past several years to allow the public to access the airport’s post-security retail area, and decided to greatly expand the concept to every weekday.

Both TSA and PIT emphasized that non-ticketed persons will go through the same security screening as passengers, and passengers will have priority at checkpoints. Kerlik said PIT’s “biggest push” of passengers on weekdays is in the morning before 9 a.m., so the airport does not anticipate long lines at security checkpoints as a result of the program. During the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. period, TSA can advise the airport to stop issuing myPITpass documents at any time if the checkpoints are becoming too crowded, he added.

“We’re taking steps to ensure it doesn’t add to the lines,” Kerlik said. “We don’t know how popular it will be … Everybody is going through the same security screening as if you were to buy a ticket.”

“Participants in this program will be subject to the same requirements as airline passengers and will receive the exact same security screening,” England said.

PIT CEO Christina Cassotis said in a statement: “Since I started here, people have been asking about being able to escort loved ones to the gate or being able to shop and dine at the airport. We have worked closely with the TSA and we are thrilled that the agency selected Pittsburgh as the first airport in the country to implement this pilot program.”

Aaron Karp aaron.karp@penton.com