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TSA testing liquid explosive screening technology at U.S. airports

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National Press Release
Tuesday, May 22, 2007

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced operational pilot testing at several of the nation's largest airports of a technology capable of screening sealed bottled liquids for explosives. The first unit ready for pilot testing is called Fido® PaxPoint and is manufactured by ICx Technologies. Because the technology is performing well in pilot testing, TSA anticipates deploying up to 200 bottled liquid scanners to the nation's busiest airports in FY 2007.

"TSA moved quickly with DHS after last year's liquid ban to accelerate the development of liquid explosive detection technologies," said TSA Chief Technology Officer Mike Golden. "Though we do not anticipate changes to the liquid ban in the near future, this flexible and accurate new technology gives an important additional tool to our security officers."

The commercially available explosives detection device is being used by the U.S. government domestically and overseas. This is the first time the hand-held bottled liquid scanners are being used in the airport environment. TSA worked with the manufacturer, the Department of Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) and the national laboratories to ensure the sensor meets TSA's specific operational needs.

In addition, TSA, DHS S&T and the national labs are working with other vendors of bottled liquid scanners. TSA anticipates pilot testing additional devices in the near future. This initiative is consistent with TSA's flexible, nimble approach to aviation security.

Bottled liquid scanners have been or will be piloted at the following airports:

  • Miami International (completed)
  • Newark Liberty International (completed)
  • Detroit Metro (ongoing)
  • Los Angeles International (ongoing)
  • Las Vegas McCarran International (ongoing)
  • Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ongoing)
  • Boston Logan International (starting 5/23)

Following the disruption of the UK/US airline bombing plot in August 2006, TSA issued new procedures that, with a few exceptions, effectively banned liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on luggage. On Sept. 26, 2006, TSA authorized travel-sized amounts of liquids, gels and aerosols. Exceptions for medications are in place. Details are available at www.tsa.gov.

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