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 residents with an Arizona driver’s license or ID card to take steps to acquire a Voluntary Travel ID card. The law goes into effect Oct. 1, 2020.

Without the new ID, would-be travelers will end up grounded and unable to fly out of Arizona-based airports, including Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

The REAL ID card will have a gold star on one corner to indicate federal compliance. Those who do not wish to update to the new card can still use a valid passport, military ID and certain other forms of federal ID to board a plane.

Gov. Doug Ducey and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego stood elbow-to-elbow to get the word out, touting a new campaign called “Don’t Get Grounded.” Set amid the backdrop of Phoenix Sky Harbor’s terminal 4, the campaign kickoff raised awareness about the new federal ID requirements.

“We do not want the travel plans of any individual to be negatively affected due to lack of proper identification,” Gallego said at the kickoff 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.

Some states are already in compliance and enforcing the REAL ID law, while other states including Maine and California have been granted an extension through September 2020.

Arizona will partner with federal agencies, airlines, businesses, local governments and airport officials to boost education around the Arizona Travel ID.

The Arizona Department of Transportation said it will increase staffing at Motor Vehicle Division locations statewide to spread the word about the new ID, manage the additional customers obtaining new IDs and prevent people from having issues at airport check-in. ADOT also said it plans to increase its staff’s presence at airports, on college 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,” Ducey said. “Beginning Oct. 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.”

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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