KALISPELL, Mont. – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has completed installation of a new checked baggage screening unit at Glacier Park International Airport (GPIA) in time for the busy summer travel season.
“This new equipment, which has the latest technology, will increase TSA’s capacity to screen the checked baggage of passengers departing Glacier Park International Airport,” said Dan Fevold, TSA Federal Security Director for Montana. “We are pleased to make this investment for the safety and security of passengers departing Kalispell.”
By law, TSA is required to screen all checked baggage for explosives. The new equipment utilizes the latest explosives detection technology and is manufactured by Reveal. All of the checked baggage screening units are designed to scan oversized bags including golf clubs and rifle cases.
At full capacity, the new unit will be able to screen 200 bags per hour, similar to the current equipment that has been in use. The need for the third unit was driven by the expansion of United Airlines at GPIA, solid passenger loads for all airlines and an increase in the frequency of flights throughout the week.
In recent years, GPIA has experienced significant growth in the number of departing passengers. In 2014, approximately 245,000 passengers were screened through the security checkpoint at GPIA; in 2015, that number increased 4% to 255,000. In 2016, 263,600 passengers were screened – a 3.3% increase over the prior year - and 2017 is expected to be another record-breaking year with projected growth of 5.3%. Since 2012, the airport has experienced a 27% increase in the number of departing passengers.
July and August are expected to be the busiest summer month for TSA security operaions in Kalispell. It is highly recommended that all travelers arrive 90 minutes prior to flight departure.
Nationwide, record numbers of passengers are expected to be screened by the TSA at more than 440 airports this summer. Peak travel periods will be in June and July, including the Independence Day weekend. During the busiest days of summer, TSA will screen more than 2.5 million passengers per day.
Below are some tips for the airport security checkpoint:
- An uncluttered carry-on bag helps TSA officers better screen items with greater efficiency. Adhering to the airline’s “1+1” carry-on policy is also important.
- Partner with TSA to make the screening process more efficient by bringing fewer bags to the security checkpoint and checking prohibited items in carry-on luggage. Not sure what is prohibited? Use the myTSA app to determine whether an item is permitted in carry-on baggage, checked baggage or not at all. The same information can also be accessed via any web browser at TSA.gov/mobile.
- Preparation is key when going through the security checkpoint. Delays of even a few seconds per passenger multiplied by the number of passengers screened everyday can create unnecessary slowdowns in the process.
- An uncluttered carry-on bag helps security officers better screen items with greater efficiency. Neatly coil charger cables and electrical cords to help the TSA officer get a clear look at your bag on the x-ray screen.
- Unsure of TSA procedures or if an item is allowed through security? Get live assistance by tweeting your questions and comments to @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger, weekdays, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. MT and weekends/holidays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT.
- Call TSA Cares. Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to flying with any questions about screening policies, procedures and to find out what to expect at the security checkpoint as well as arrange for assistance at the checkpoint
- Remember that security is TSA’s focus and security will not be compromised to move travelers more quickly through the security checkpoint.