Airports Council Calls for an Extension to the REAL ID Deadline

CEO Says an Extension is Necessary to Avoid Significant Travel Disruptions


WASHINGTON – Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), the trade association representing commercial service airports in the United States and Canada, today called for an extension to the October 1, 2020 deadline for Americans to present a REAL ID in order to travel by air. The call for an extension is due to significant concerns that the low saturation of REAL ID-compliant identification among the traveling public will negatively impact passengers and airport operations.

In an interview with NBC News’ Tom Costello, ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke explained why he believes an extension is necessary to avoid travel disruptions. You can watch his interview here.

“If the government doesn’t make a definitive statement now that they’re going to extend this, then we’re going to have a real crisis on our hands come October 1,” Burke said.

While Department of Homeland Security data indicates that states have issued more than 95 million REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards ahead of the REAL ID deadline of October 1, 2020, more than two-thirds of driver’s licenses and identification cards held by Americans are not REAL ID compliant. If millions of passengers are unable to board their flights when they arrive at airports on October 1, it will significantly disrupt the lives of individuals as well as operations throughout the interconnected aviation system. ACI–NA believes an extension to REAL ID implementation will prevent unnecessary travel disruptions and potential harm to the U.S. aviation system, which is a major pillar of our national economy.

In an absence of an extension, travelers on October 1 will not be allowed to proceed through security checkpoints or to board commercial aircraft unless they present REAL ID-compliant or other acceptable identification.


About ACI-NA

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) represents local, regional, and state governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports in the United States and Canada. ACI-NA member airports enplane more than 95 percent of the domestic and virtually all the international airline passenger and cargo traffic in North America. Approximately 380 aviation-related businesses are also members of ACI-NA, providing goods and services to airports. Collectively, U.S. airports support more than 11.5 million jobs and account for $1.4 trillion in economic activity – or more than seven percent of the total U.S. GDP. Canadian airports support 405,000 jobs and contribute C$35 billion to Canada’s GDP. Learn more at