San Diego International Airport is TSA test bed for explosives trace detection portals

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Local Press Release
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

SAN DIEGO – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced it will begin an operational test and evaluation of an explosives trace detection portal at a passenger security checkpoint at San Diego International Airport, Lindbergh Field.

In June, TSA began testing at T.F. Green State Airport, Providence, R.I., and Greater Rochester (N.Y.) International Airport. In the next few weeks, machines will be introduced to air travelers at Tampa (Fla.) International Airport and Gulfport-Biloxi (Miss.) International Airport.

The explosive trace detection portal, the GE EntryScan3, is designed to analyze air for traces of explosive material and will be evaluated for effectiveness in the airport environment. The tests will be conducted for 30 to 45 days at each airport.

"TSA welcomes the opportunity to test this new and exciting technology," said Michael J. Aguilar, TSA Federal Security Director at San Diego. "This project is part of our ongoing efforts to leverage the latest technology to ensure the highest level of security for the traveling public."

At San Diego, passengers who enter the checkpoint lane with the trace portal machine will place their carry-on baggage on the conveyer belt to be screened by X-ray, and then be asked to step into the trace portal. Once in the trace portal, passengers will stand still for a few seconds while several quick "puffs" of air are released. The portal will analyze the air for traces of explosives and a computerized voice will tell passengers when to exit. Passengers will then go to the walk-through metal detector and collect their carry-on baggage from the X-ray.

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