Trace portal machines deployed to Albuquerque International Sunport

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National Press Release
Wednesday, May 31, 2006

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced that it has deployed two explosives detection trace portals to the passenger security checkpoint at Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ). The state-of-the-art machines further enhance TSA’s ability to detect explosives at the checkpoint and have added customer service benefits.

“The trace portals support TSA’s risk based approach, as they focus on the greatest threat of explosives,” said Melvin Carraway, TSA’s Federal Security Director at ABQ. “The machines also are efficient and convenient for travelers passing through Albuquerque International.”

Passengers identified for additional screening will walk through the trace portal for explosives detection screening. As they enter the trace portal, they will be 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. Security officers will take necessary and appropriate steps to resolve any alarms.

“The city of Albuquerque’s decision to expand the screening area played a tremendous role in the development of our new state-of-the-art checkpoint, including the installation of the trace portal technology,” Carraway added. “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 Washington, DC: (Baltimore-Washington International, Dulles International and Reagan National); New York: (John F. Kennedy, Newark, Rochester, Albany); Florida: (Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami); California: (Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento); Phoenix; Boston; Las Vegas; Dallas-Ft. Worth; Pittsburgh; San Juan; Providence; Gulfport- Biloxi; Indianapolis; Charlotte; Salt Lake City; Detroit; and Portland and continues to deploy this technology to airports throughout the nation.

TSA purchases trace portal equipment from two vendors: GE Infrastructure Security, and Smiths Detection. Each machine costs approximately $160,000.

For more information regarding TSA, see the website at