TSA expands its passenger explosives detection capability

Archived Content

Please note that older content is archived for public record. This page may contain information that is outdated and may not reflect current policy or programs.

If you have questions about policies or procedures, please contact the TSA Contact Center.

Members of the news media may contact TSA Public Affairs.

New trace portal machine deployed to Palm Beach International Airport
National Press Release
Friday, July 29, 2005

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced that it has deployed an explosives detection trace portal at the passenger security checkpoint in the A/B concourse of Palm Beach (Fla.) International Airport.

"This further enhances our explosives detection capabilities," said David Beecroft, TSA's Acting Federal Security Director at Palm Beach International. "This is part of TSA's pledge to provide the traveling public the highest levels of security and customer service."

"I want to thank our airport and airline partners for their ongoing efforts to facilitate the installation of new technology," Beecroft added.

Passengers identified as needing additional screening will pass through the trace portal for explosives detection screening. As passengers enter the trace portal, they are asked to stand still for a few seconds while several "bursts" of air are released, dislodging microscopic particles from passengers that are then collected and analyzed for traces of explosives. A computerized voice indicates when a passenger may exit the portal. Screeners will take necessary and appropriate steps to resolve possible alarms.

TSA has already advanced its explosives detection capabilities at the passenger security checkpoint by deploying trace portals at airports in Baltimore; Boston; Dallas (DFW); Gulfport, Miss.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; Newark; New York (JFK); Phoenix; Providence, R.I.; Rochester, N.Y.; San Francisco; San Diego; and Tampa, Fla.

By the end of September, TSA plans to deploy this technology to airports in Charlotte, N.C.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; New York (LaGuardia); Pittsburgh; San Juan, P.R., and Washington, D.C. (both Dulles and Reagan National).

TSA will continue to increase its explosives detection capabilities and expects to announce the next round of airports to receive these trace portal machines by the end of the summer. TSA anticipates deploying 100 additional machines to the nation's largest airports by January 2006.

TSA purchased the trace portal equipment from two vendors: GE Infrastructure, Security and Smiths Detection. TSA is working on a procurement strategy for the next round of equipment purchases, which costs more than $160,000 per machine.