Reagan National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport unveil explosives detection trace portal machines

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Critical explosives technology now in place at 26 airports nationwide
National Press Release
Monday, January 9, 2006

WASHINGTON – With a sharp eye focused on the threat of explosives, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced that it has deployed explosives detection trace portal machines to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). The two airports join Baltimore-Washington International and 23 others nationwide in a program designed to prevent explosives material from getting on-board commercial aircraft.

“The trace portal is a sophisticated tool that allows us to detect a broad range of explosive materials quickly and efficiently,” said Pat Hynes, TSA’s Federal Security Director at DCA. “This new technology, along with enhanced training for our security officers and new checkpoint procedures, ensures we have a robust system in place to address the serious threat of explosives.”

Passengers identified as needing additional screening, as well as passengers selected at random, 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.  TSA officers will take necessary and appropriate steps to resolve alarms.

“This significant security enhancement would not be possible without the cooperation and hard work of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and our airline partners,” said John Lenihan, TSA’s Federal Security Director at IAD. “Working together we will continue to enhance security and the overall traveler experience.”

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); Palm Beach, Fla., Phoenix; Providence, R.I.; Rochester, N.Y.; San Francisco; San Diego; Pittsburgh; Tampa, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; San Juan, P.R.; and Indianapolis.

TSA will continue to increase its explosives detection capabilities and expects to announce the next round of airports to receive these trace portal machines in the coming weeks. TSA purchased the trace portal equipment from two firms, GE Infrastructure Security and Smiths Detection.

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