Palm Springs International Airport announced the addition of CLEAR Expedited Security Lane just in time for a large influx of Coachella visitors, and the airport has plans for further improvements. Tourism season has been in full swing, the effects can be seen all around the valley, and the airport is no exception. March passenger counts at PSP set another record, the airport’s 8th passenger record since June, and April looks to be another strong month.
To help ease lines during this busy time of year, the airport added CLEAR to their TSA Checkpoint today and expects it to decrease wait times. Members can use CLEAR’s network of dedicated lanes to verify their identity with their eyes, replacing the need to take out their wallet and driver’s license. After verification, a CLEAR Ambassador escorts members through the dedicated lane and directly to TSA physical security bypassing the primary line. Travelers can sign up for CLEAR at PSP near the checkpoint, or they can visit ClearMe.com to start the sign-up process and finish at PSP. CLEAR can also be used at more than 50 airports and at select stadiums and other venues nationwide.
“PSP has experienced significant growth since last summer,” said Harry Barrett, Interim Executive Director of Aviation. “We’ve had more nonstop routes this season than ever before, and while the growth has added more travel options for our community, we’ve also had to get to work to improve our facilities due to the increased passenger demand.”
Passenger numbers were not expected to return to pre-covid levels until 2023 based on forecasts the airport received, but PSP returned to those numbers in June 2021 and has met or exceeded them each month since. Three new airlines started service at PSP this season, and 16 new air services, a mix of new routes and competitive service on existing routes, were launched as well.
“Three new airlines starting within a matter of weeks, sixteen new air service launches, and additional growth from existing airlines created a very busy atmosphere at PSP,” said Barrett. “It’s busier than we have ever seen it, and we’ve been doing our best to inform the public to arrive early so they can make their flight. We have also worked to improve passenger throughput at the checkpoint by adding CLEAR, and we’ve hired third-party contractors to provide us with additional immediate help for baggage processing.”
PSP has other improvement plans in place as well. This summer, the airport will replace all carpeting in the Sonny Bono and RJ Concourses, and they’re adding common-use IT systems to all gates. The common-use IT system will give the airport greater flexibility when scheduling gates for airlines, and it will reduce the hold time for an aircraft waiting for a gate when it is off schedule.
This fall, the airport will start to renovate and expand restrooms throughout the terminal. They’re also working with their concessions operator to see how they can increase restaurant offerings ahead of next season, and they’re looking at ways to expand parking and the baggage claim.
“We see areas that we need to improve,” Barrett said. “Our facility wasn’t designed to handle the level of passengers we have today, and we know this will return next tourist season. So, we’re working with our partners now to make improvements where we can ahead of next season.”