JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced that Jacksonville International Airport will begin using an explosives trace portal machine to screen passengers starting today. The equipment is part of the Phase II pilot program to test and evaluate this state-of-the-art technology for checking passengers for explosives at the nation's security checkpoints. Jacksonville is the seventh airport to receive this technology.
"Those of us at Jacksonville welcome the opportunity to test this new technology," said Paul Hackenberry, TSA Federal Security Director at the airport. "I want to thank our partners, the airport authority and airlines, for their continuing support and cooperation, not only as we anticipate crowds for the Super Bowl but on an every day basis."
During Phase I of the pilot, TSA began testing the trace portal at passenger security checkpoints at airports in Providence, R.I., Rochester, N.Y., San Diego, Tampa, and Gulfport, Miss., last summer. In the fall of 2004, TSA deployed a sixth trace portal to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. In Phase II, TSA will deploy the equipment to seven additional airports by late spring. The pilot designed to determine the impact of the equipment on security and customer service is scheduled to continue through the summer 2005.
At Jacksonville, passengers who are directed by the TSA screeners will step into the trace portal. Passengers will stand still for a few seconds while several "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.