Explosives detection trace portal deployed to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

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National Press Release
Tuesday, April 12, 2005

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that Phoenix Sky International Airport (PHX) will receive a new explosives detection trace portal to screen passengers at the new Terminal 4A security checkpoint, starting today. The equipment is part of a pilot program to test and evaluate the trace portal for screening passengers for explosives.

"As a member of the team that assisted in the evaluation of the technology while it was still being tested at our technology lab, I have seen the equipment in action and believe in the technology's potential," said Randy Null, TSA Federal Security Director. "The deployment of this equipment is part of our ongoing efforts to leverage the latest technology to ensure the highest level of security for the traveling public."

Also participating in the pilot are airports in San Diego; Tampa; New York (JFK airport); Baltimore (BWI airport); Las Vegas; Miami; Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Providence, R.I.; Rochester, N.Y.; and San Francisco. TSA will deploy this equipment at two additional airports by the end of May. The pilot, scheduled to continue through the summer, will provide data on the impact of the equipment on security and customer service.

At Phoenix, some passengers will be directed by the TSA screeners to step into the trace portal. Passengers will stand still for a few seconds while several "puffs" of air are released. The portal will collect and analyze the air for traces of explosives and a computerized voice will tell passengers when to exit.

Even as the pilot program continues, TSA has allocated $28.3 million to purchase and install an additional 147 trace portals. TSA is currently developing a purchase and deployment plan to have the equipment in airports by January 2006. Once the plans are finalized, TSA will announce the next group of airports to receive the equipment.