New software simplifies no-fly checklist

 - December 6, 2007, 9:26 AM

Aviation Technologies has created what it believes is a solution to the time-consuming process of checking air passenger and employee names against Transportation Security Administration (TSA) “no-fly” and “selectee no-fly cleared” and “selectee cleared” watch-lists. Those lists now total more than 120,000 people, most of whom are barred from flying or for whom additional security measures are necessary. Two other lists comprise those who have been cleared to fly or for whom no additional security measures are required.

Until this point, users with passenger manifests and employee lists have been obliged to download the most recent TSA lists onto their own unsecured hard drives and either print out a paper copy or do an Excel overlay. Among the system’s drawbacks is that the process permits only exact-name matches and does not take into consideration spelling variations.

“Our software program allows interface with the TSA lists and will compare the user’s passenger list or employee list with those names in the TSA lists in about 20 seconds,” said Aviation Technologies president Jim Gallagher.

When the operator enters the list of names and is granted second-tier access to the TSA list, the software automatically compares that list to the TSA list. Software at the TSA will then respond with a report of “hits” that includes exact matches, similar-sounding names, nicknames, spelling variations and allowances for language translations.

The report will also provide additional information about an individual whose name is the same as or similar to that of the passenger or employee, giving the user another tool to decide whether to deny boarding or to conduct a more stringent security check.

Streamlining Security  
“The TSA requirement calls for a more labor-intensive process than some might think,” said Gallagher. “It’s not only passenger manifests and new employees that have to be checked, but the TSA also requires daily checks of employees on every new incoming work shift.”

While the operator’s employee list may not have changed and he might know many passengers from previous trips, Gallagher explained, “The watch lists are being updated constantly, and names that didn’t generate a hit on a morning check may very well get a hit two hours later.”

It’s the responsibility of the user to decide whether an individual whose name appears on the no-fly or selectee list is allowed to board the aircraft, he added.
According to Gallagher, his company’s most likely customer in the business aviation community is the Part 135 charter operator with a large passenger volume. The watch-list requirement is not mandatory for fractional ownership or Part 91 operators.

Part 135 on-demand operators were included in the TSA watch-list requirement two years ago; FBOs and Part 139 airports were added last summer.
The Aviation Technologies watch-list software is available for $59 a month for unlimited use.

Aviation Technologies is an aviation services company based in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa., with a computer reservation system division. To arrange for a watch-list software demonstration, call (570) 457-4149 or (877) 355-7595.