Trace portal machines deployed to Midway International Airport

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National Press Release
Monday, August 7, 2006

WASHINGTON The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced that it has deployed two explosives detection trace portals to the passenger security checkpoint at Chicago’s Midway International Airport (MDW).  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 James Roche, TSA’s Federal Security Director at MDW. “The machines also are efficient and convenient for travelers passing through Midway 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.

TSA has already advanced its explosives detection capabilities at the passenger security checkpoint by deploying trace portals at airports near 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, P.R.; Providence, R.I.; Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss.; Indianapolis; Charlotte, N.C.; Salt Lake City; Detroit; Albuquerque, N.M.; Hartford, Conn.; Denver; St. Louis; and Portland, Ore.  TSA continues to deploy this technology to airports throughout the nation.

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