Gov. Ducey and Phoenix Mayor Gallego tout new air travel campaign

Local leaders are preparing Arizonans for new air travel rules as a new federal identification law is set to come into full effect in October 2020.

The federal REAL ID Act requires those with an Arizona license or identification card to take steps to acquire another card, a Voluntary Travel ID. Travelers have until Oct. 1, 2020 to get the new identification card. Not doing so will keep would-be travelers grounded, unable to fly out of Arizona-based airports, including Phoenix Sky Harbor.

To get the word out, Governor Doug Ducey and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego stood elbow-to-elbow to tout a new campaign, “Don’t Get Grounded.” Set against the backdrop of Phoenix Sky Harbor’s terminal 4, the campaign kickoff raised awareness about the new federal identification requirements to board an airplane.

For those who don’t update their new ID, which will have a gold star on one of its corners indicating compliance with the federal law, a valid passport, military ID and certain other forms of federal identification can still be used to board.

“We do not want the travel plans of any individual to be negatively affected due to lack of proper identification,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, at the event. “We are increasing our outreach to ensure that anyone who travels through our airport is aware of the change and can take action before the federal rules go into effect.”

One of the main goals of the federal act is to prevent possible bad actors, such as terrorists, from boarding commercial aircraft. This added layer of protection has been implemented across the country, with some states already enforcing the law. Other states, like Arizona, Maine and California, have been granted the extension through the end of September next year.

The state of Arizona will partner with federal agencies, airlines, businesses, local governments and airport officials to boost education around the Arizona Travel ID. To make sure the word gets out and to prevent people from having issues at the airport check-in, the Arizona Department of Transportation will increase staffing at MVDs around the state to help handle the amount of people getting new IDs. According to ADOT, the agency also plans to increase its presence at airports, on campuses and at public events to remind travelers of the upcoming changes.

“More than 2.5 million Arizonans will go through the airport next year — and we want to make sure every one of them is able to catch their flight when these new federal guidelines kick in,” said Governor Ducey. “Beginning October 1, 2020, if your license does not have the gold star, it will not fly. I encourage every traveler who relies on their driver’s license at the airport to get their Travel ID today.”

The Voluntary Travel IDs are available through the Motor Vehicle Division, part of the Arizona Department of Transportation. Arizonans can visit to get more information, apply online and schedule an appointment at any MVD office or select authorized third-party driver’s license locations.

Nick Esquer

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