Enhanced airport security measures target personal electronics

If you’re flying out of Edmonton International Airport [EIA] any time soon, be prepared for new security measures for personal electronic devices.

All passengers at Edmonton International could be subject to electronics search

New security measures at Edmonton International Airport started Wednesday. (CBC)

All passengers flying out of  Edmonton International Airport will now be subject to random checks of their electronic devices, including smart phones, tablets and iPads, the airport announced Wednesday at a news conference.

Travellers will be selected at random in security lineups for the inspection.

U.S. passengers already subject to new security

The changes, implemented Wednesday at all Canadian airports, mirror new measures instituted recently by the Department of Homeland Security in the United States.

As of last week, all travellers flying into the U.S. were required to have their personal electronic devices available for inspection.

That same requirement has now been put in place for all Canadian flights, domestic and international.

The changes come just days before what is typically the busiest month for the airport.

Traffic is expected to increase by seventeen per cent in August, said Mathieu Larocque, spokesperson for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

Mathieu Larocque says average wait times for security are under 15 minutes at Canadian airports. (CBC)

Fridays and Mondays are the busiest travel days, he said, though most days in August are busier than other times of the year.

Larocque said there are ways to help ensure the security lineup doesn't get too long.

"We recommend that passengers make sure their electronic items are in cases that can be easily removed or that are already removed before going to the airport," he said. "And make sure they are powered up, because some passengers may be asked to demonstrate that the item can be powered up."

Mathieu said the enhanced security measures for flights to the U.S. didn't lead to longer lineups at security last week.

On average last year, Canadian airport security screened 85 percent of travellers under 15 minutes.

Watch your carry-on luggage

Mathieu said it's important for travellers to know what kind of carry-on luggage is allowed.

"If we don't have to do an additional screening of your bag because there is an item that is not permitted in it, then you should be through [security] relatively quickly," he said.

Mathieu recommended all passengers check with their airlines to see how early they should get to the airport in order to get through baggage check-in and security in time to board their flights. 

Nola Keeler