Airport partners with TSA on new screening machine
By Matt Okarmus
Special to the Advertiser
The Transportation Security Administration displayed a new explosives detection system machine at Montgomery Regional Airport on Thursday designed to screen checked baggage more quickly and efficiently.
The new device, the CT-80, uses CT scan technology and algorithms to determine if a bag contains a potential threat. It replaces the method of TSA officers swabbing each bag that’s checked in.
Montgomery Airport Authority Executive Director Phil Perry said he was proud to partner with TSA in making the Montgomery airport safer.
“Our No. 1 goal is passenger safety, and we welcome the addition of the most up-to-date TSA screening equipment,” Perry said. “Passenger traffic for Montgomery Regional Airport is growing at a brisk pace, and this new equipment has the capacity to accommodate additional growth in the future.”
Robert Moore, TSA assistant federal security director, said that in the past, TSA officers would have to swab each bag to check for explosive devices in a process that became time-consuming. The CT-80 is a machine that generates a 3-D image that alerts officers to any weapons or potential threats, improving the efficiency of the process.
“This new machine will help us screen checked baggage more quickly and efficiently,” Moore said. “We appreciate the cooperation and assistance of Phil Perry and his staff in bringing this security enhancement to Montgomery Regional Airport.”
Jon Allen, Southeast public affairs manager for TSA, was on hand Thursday at the airport to further explain the details of the CT-80. He noted that with the new device, chances of bags being opened are “a lot less likely.”
Also, the previous system included manual inspection on spread out tables, taking up a lot of space. Allen admitted that in an airport, space is hard to come by, making the fact that only one machine is required in an airport the size of Montgomery’s an advantage.
Allen also explained that the ones assigned to the machine are TSA officers trained to a handle a potentially threatening situation.
According to a statement, the machine at Montgomery Regional Airport was purchased with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. In September 2009, TSA announced that it was purchasing reduced-size explosives detection system equipment using about $30 million in ARRA funds.
Perry said the swab devices still might be used from time to time so the airport’s security system “doesn’t become predictable.”
According to a news release, TSA has set up 383 reduced-size explosives detection system machines at a total of 153 airports.
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