From Travel Weekly…
TSA, American Airlines test new screening technology for carry-ons
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will test screening technology by the end of this year that would enable passengers to leave liquids, gels, aerosols and laptops in their carry-on bags.
The technology, called computed tomography (CT), will first be deployed at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in conjunction with American Airlines.
TSA already deploys 3D CT technology at airports around the U.S. to screen checked bags.
“Our responsibility is to keep passengers safe but also moving through security,” TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said in a prepared statement.
The CT pilot test is part of a larger joint initiative that TSA and American will launch later this year as U.S. airlines and the federal government search for ways to reduce waits at airport checkpoints. The move comes after lines that were often more than hour put the TSA in the crosshairs of public scrutiny in May.
This fall, TSA will introduce automated bag-screening conveyor belts at the American hubs of Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago O’Hare, Miami and Los Angeles. American is contributing $5 million to the initiative, according to a letter that COO Robert Isom sent to company employees on July 5.
Two such belts were already deployed by TSA in partnership with Delta in May at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. They reduce the amount of time passengers spend in screening by approximately 30% while enhancing security, according to the TSA.
The automatic screening belts deploy bins that are 25% larger than the bins used in regular screening lanes, creating time savings. Bags that are deemed to need extra scrutiny as they pass through the belt can be diverted automatically so that bins behind it can continue through the system. Radio frequency tags are attached to each bin, increasing the accountability of items as they go through the belt.
In addition, cameras on the belt take photos of the outside of the bag, which are linked to the X-ray image of the items in the bag. Finally, the automated belts have a second conveyor system, located near floor level, that returns empty bins back to the loading area, thereby saving labor time for TSA officers.
Isom told American employees that he expects the CT technology and the automated belts to chip away at long checkpoint waits.
“Neither initiative is a slam dunk to solve TSA woes, but they are both huge steps in the right direction,” he wrote.
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