The pilot program, to be tested at eight airports in the coming weeks, will use video surveillance and other technology to identify airline employees by fingerprints or eye scan matches on a special biometrical ID card.
"This pilot program will test new technologies designed to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to non-passenger controlled areas," David Stone, TSA's acting administrator, said Monday. "TSA believes that this cutting edge technology will enhance the security of the aviation system and keep us one step ahead of those who seek to harm us."
Homeland Security officials have warned airport authorities that al Qaeda and other extremist groups might seeks to steal uniforms and ID cards from airline and airport workers as part of hijacking attempts.
Airports participating in the program are in Miami; Newark, New Jersey; Boise, Idaho; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Savannah, Georgia; Fort Myers, Florida; Providence, Rhode Island; and Tampa, Florida.
Different airports will use different technology. For instance, Miami International Airport will test video analysis to differentiate between authorized and unauthorized personnel entering security areas, while Newark will incorporate fingerprint technology. T.F. Green State Airport in Providence will use eye scan matches to control access.