The TSA's Getting New Scanners. Could This Mean Less Time at Security?

You may see the new scanners at your local airport as early as this summer

Analogic CT Machine

Courtesy of Transportation Security Administration

We're one step closer to getting through airport security more quickly. The Transportation Security Administration announced that it got the all-clear to purchase up to $781.2 million worth of new x-ray systems to better detect banned items at security checkpoints.

The x-ray scanning equipment, called Computed Tomography (CT) technology, applies "sophisticated algorithms to detect weapons, explosives and other prohibited items by creating 3-D images of carry-on items," said TSA in a statement, adding that these images can then be rotated on three axes to identify any threat items.

TSA will be ordering up to 469 base and 469 full-size systems, which the agency will introduce to airport security checkpoints this summer. The latter system features "fully automated screening lanes with parallel divestiture stations, automated bin return, and high threat containment to allow for greater passenger throughput."

The agency says that it plans to eventually allow travelers to keep their laptops and liquids inside their luggage during screening, as the CT technology can detect explosives inside liquids. Under current procedures, however, travelers must take out their liquids while going through security.

Although anyone with TSA PreCheck can already breeze through security without having to remove their items from their bags, the new technology will be a game changer for all travelers.

"These [orders] are another important step in enhancing aviation security," TSA administrator David Pekoske said in a statement. "They provide our dedicated frontline officers with one of the best tools available to screen passenger carry-on items and also improves the passenger experience by allowing passengers to keep more items in their carry-on bags during the screening process."

In December, President Joe Biden signed an executive order stating that the Biden-Harris Administration would improve customer service across 17 federal agencies. In a statement, the White House reported that the Secretary of Homeland Security "shall test the use of innovative technologies at airport security checkpoints to reduce passenger wait times."

"Every interaction between the Federal Government and the public...should be seen as an opportunity for the Government to save an individual's time (and thus reduce "time taxes") and to deliver the level of service that the public expects and deserves," said the White House.

Article Sources
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  1. Transportation Security Administration. "TSA Awards $781.2 Million to Procure Additional CT X-Ray Scanners for Airport Checkpoints." March 18, 2022.

  2. Transportation Security Administration. "TSA Awards $781.2 Million to Procure Additional CT X-Ray Scanners for Airport Checkpoints." March 18, 2022.

  3. Transportation Security Administration. "Computed Tomography." Accessed March 23, 2022.

  4. The White House. "Fact Sheet: Putting the Public First: Improving Customer Experience and Service Delivery for the American People." December 13, 2021.

  5. The White House. "Fact Sheet: Putting the Public First: Improving Customer Experience and Service Delivery for the American People." December 13, 2021.

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