Explosives detection trace portal deployed to San Francisco International Airport

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National Press Release
Thursday, April 14, 2005

WASHINGTON – Starting today, a new explosives detection trace portal will be used to screen passengers at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in International Terminal at the Concourse G security checkpoint, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced. The equipment is part of a pilot program to test and evaluate the trace portal for screening passengers for explosives.

"I would like to thank our airport, airline, and contract screener partners here at San Francisco International Airport for always being committed to piloting the new technology and screening procedures that allow SFO to be a test bed for post-9/11 airport security," said Edward Gomez, TSA Federal Security Director.

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 Phoenix. 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 SFO, 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.