12/22/2011 01:07 EST | Updated 02/21/2012 05:12 EST

Travellers can use Nexus cards for many U.S. flights beginning in February

OTTAWA - Canadians flying to the United States through major airports will soon be able to use trusted-traveller cards to speed up their journeys.

The Transport Department says passengers can use Nexus cards — which provide access to expedited screening lanes — starting in February.

Airports in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver will offer the service.

Currently there are Nexus lines only at domestic and some international checkpoints.

The measure flows from the Canada-U.S. perimeter security plan announced two weeks ago.

The government also plans to install new explosive-detection machines in selected Canadian airports by March 2015 — a move intended to make many U.S. flight connections easier.

Because Canada lacks the U.S.-approved machines, many passengers get tripped up by an American rule that all bags destined for a domestic destination be screened with the special devices.

So when a traveller flies from Toronto to Atlanta to catch a connecting flight to another U.S. city, their bags must be pulled out and rescreened.

Transport could not immediately say how much the new screening machines will cost.