McCarran International Airport gets explosives trace detection portal

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McCarran International is first in nation to test multiple portals
Local Press Release
Thursday, February 24, 2005

LAS VEGAS – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced the installation of two explosives detection trace portals at checkpoints C and D in McCarran International Airport's Terminal 1.

The airport will be the ninth in the nation to receive the portals and the first to receive more than one. The equipment is part of Phase II of a pilot program to test and evaluate the equipment for explosives screening of passengers.

The portals detect explosives by blowing several "puffs" of air onto passengers. Air samples are then collected and analyzed for explosives. If the portal alarms, passengers go through additional screening. If the portal does not alarm, a computerized voice tells the passenger to continue the screening process.

"We are excited to test this state-of-the-art equipment here in Las Vegas, and we are eager to further participate in testing new technologies that enhance aviation security," said Dennis Clark, Federal Security Director at McCarran International. "Thanks to our airport and airline partners, I am confident this project will go smoothly and provide valuable data to our research and development teams."

By testing two trace portals at McCarran, TSA will be able to evaluate electrical and other logistical requirements in an airport setting while collecting data on security and customer service impacts.

Last summer during Phase I of the pilot, TSA began field testing trace portals at passenger security checkpoints at airports in Providence, R.I.; Rochester, N.Y.; San Diego; Tampa; and Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss. In the fall of 2004, TSA deployed a trace portal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, and in recent weeks the agency installed equipment at Jacksonville (Fla.) International Airport and Baltimore-Washington International Airport. TSA will deploy the portals at five more airports by late spring.