TSA To Test New Luggage Screening Device In Gulfport - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/03/05

TSA To Test New Luggage Screening Device In Gulfport

The check in area at Gulfport Biloxi International Airport is a maze of ticket counters and TSA scanning centers.

"Basically down on the first floor of the check in, we're doing the searches of the bags," TSA director Pat Baroco said.

His staff uses cloth attached to wands to wipe down luggage, and trace the bags for explosives. The cloth squares go into a machine set up at each TSA station.

"The machine tells us whether it's clean or whether there is actually an explosive on it," Baroco said.

TSA's trace detection machines at Gulfport Biloxi International Airport are effective. But they're somewhat antiquated. So TSA will send the next generation of baggage screening equipment to Gulfport, to see if it speeds up the scanning process.

Ken Spirito is the airport's assistant director.

"It's a smaller piece of equipment," he said, describing the CT-80 Explosive Detection System that will be tested at the airport.

"It allows us to, allows TSA to scan the bags in a lot smaller area, and be more efficient at the same time."

Gulfport is one of three airports in the country that will participate in the pilot program.

"It gives us a chance to apply a different type of technology to the baggage screening," said Baroco.

The explosive detection system should replace the airport's wand scanning system in the next 90 days.

This won't be the first time the TSA used Gulfport in a pilot program. Last September, the airport tested a passenger air puffer system. That machine scanned air particles, and within 14 seconds determined if a passenger was carrying an explosives.

TSA liked how the air puffer worked. It recently sent a similar passenger scanning device to Las Vegas.

by Brad Kessie

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