Palm Springs International Airport announced the creation of a CLEAR Expedited Security Lane just in time for Coachella tourists, and the airport has plans for more enhancements. The tourist season is in full swing, and the impacts can be seen all across the valley, including at the airport. PSP set yet another passenger record in March, the airport’s eighth since June, and April looks to be another successful month.
The airport added CLEAR to their TSA Checkpoint today to help lighten queues during this busy time of year, and it is expected to reduce wait times. CLEAR’s network of dedicated lanes allows members to authenticate their identification with their eyes instead of having to pull out their wallet and driver’s license. Following verification, members are escorted through the exclusive lane and directly to TSA physical security, skipping the main line. Travelers can sign up for CLEAR near the checkpoint at PSP, or they can start the procedure at ClearMe.com and conclude at PSP. CLEAR is also available at more than 50 airports, as well as certain stadiums and other locations across the country.
“Since last summer, PSP has grown significantly,” stated Harry Barrett, Interim Executive Director of Aviation. “This season, we’ve had more nonstop trips than ever before, and although this has given our community additional travel alternatives, we’ve also had to work hard to improve our facilities to meet the increased passenger demand.”
According to projections obtained by the airport, passenger counts would not return to pre-covid levels until 2023, but PSP did so in June 2021 and has met or exceeded them every month since. This season, three new airlines began service at PSP, as well as 16 new air services, a combination of new routes and competitive service on current routes.
“A very busy atmosphere at PSP was generated by three new airlines commencing in a couple of weeks, sixteen new air service launches, and extra growth from existing airlines,” Barrett added. “It’s busier than we’ve ever seen it, and we’ve been doing everything we can to warn people to arrive early so they don’t miss their flight.” We’ve also added CLEAR to boost passenger throughput at the checkpoint, and we’ve employed third-party contractors to provide more rapid luggage processing assistance.”
PSP is also working on other improvements. The airport is replacing all flooring in the Sonny Bono and RJ Concourses this summer, as well as installing common-use IT systems at all gates. The shared IT system will allow the airport to be more flexible when arranging gates for airlines, as well as shorten the time an aircraft spends waiting for a gate when it is running late.
The airport will begin renovating and expanding toilets throughout the terminal this fall. They’re also working with their concessions operator to see how they might expand restaurant services for next season, as well as parking and baggage claim expansion.
“We see areas where we can improve,” Barrett explained. “Our facilities was not built to manage the volume of passengers we have today, and we expect this to happen again next tourism season.” So, ahead of next season, we’re working with our partners to enhance where we can.”