TSA introduces new checkpoint baggage screening equipment at T.F. Green International Airport

Local Press Release
Friday, November 6, 2020

WARWICK, R.I. – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has installed two new pieces of high-tech checkpoint screening equipment at T.F. Green International Airport. The new equipment screens passenger carry-on baggage and other items and has the potential to decrease the need for manual searches; whether it is a suitcase, duffel-bag, knapsack, handbag, box, or other items.

“This new piece of technology streamlines the checkpoint screening process, while adding efficiency, convenience and enhanced security,” said Daniel Burche, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Rhode Island. “With the addition of this new security technology, only items that trigger an alarm will need additional inspection by our TSA officers.”

The new scanner uses computed tomography (CT) technology to enhance threat detection capabilities for carry-on baggage. It is similar to CT technology used in the medical field and research shows that CT is the most consequential technology available today for airport checkpoints.  The CT technology applies sophisticated algorithms for the detection of explosives and other threats by creating a 3-D image that can be viewed and rotated 360 degrees on a monitor for a thorough analysis by a TSA officer. If the bag requires additional screening, a TSA officer will manually inspect it to ensure that there are no prohibited items inside.

“These units create a very clear image of a bag’s contents on a monitor and it enhances our capability to detect threat items such as explosives, including liquid explosives,” Burche said.

The 3-D imagery can be manipulated on screen to get a better view of a bag’s contents so that TSA officers can often clear items without having to open a carry-on bag, so it reduces the need for pulling aside a bag to be opened, thus reducing a touchpoint during the pandemic.

Prior to the deployment of CT, TSA officers had been opening items of concern and swabbing them for traces of explosives before allowing the carry-ons to be cleared and loaded onto aircraft. The new CT system will screen baggage automatically and will alert TSA officials if something inside needs a closer inspection by a TSA officer.  It’s faster and more efficient.

Travelers flying out of T.F. Green will proceed through the security checkpoint as normal placing all carry-on items onto the belt for introduction into the CT machine. From the passenger’s eyes the process is no different than the current X-ray process of going through checkpoint screening. However, the technology employed and the security gained is a major leap forward.