ST. GEORGE, Utah – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has installed the latest security checkpoint screening technology at St. George Regional Airport (SGU).
Starting this week, a body scanner, also referred to as Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), is being used to screen passengers departing SGU for metallic and non-metallic items including weapons, explosives and other objects that can be concealed in layers of clothing. The body scanner at SGU is a second-generation AIT with a smaller footprint than earlier versions of the same type of machine that are in use at other U.S. airports.
Every AIT unit operated by TSA is equipped with automated target recognition software, which is designed to enhance passenger privacy by creating a generic, computer-generated outline that is identical for all travelers. If the body scanner detects a concealed item on the traveler or any anomaly during the scan, a yellow box appears on the generic outline. This box identifies where on the passenger the TSA officer needs to conduct any follow-up screening.
The AIT unit is equipped with millimeter wave technology, which uses harmless electromagnetic waves to perform a single scan of the passenger. The technology meets all known national and international health and safety standards; the energy emitted by millimeter wave technology is 1,000 times less than the international limits and guidelines.
Because the body scanner is not a metal detector, many passengers who have had metal hip or knee replacements prefer to be screened by AIT. In addition, the AIT machine does not use X-ray technology and it does not generate X-ray specific images of any traveler.
The number of passengers screened by TSA at SGU has increased significantly over the past few years. In 2014, TSA screened approximately 77,000 passengers departing SGU. In 2015, that number increased to about 87,600. In 2016, TSA screened more than 96,000 departing passengers, equaling a 21 percent increase over three years.
Below are some tips to help travelers prepare for screening through the body scanner:
- Remove all items – metallic and non-metallic – from pockets. Common items carried by passengers that should be removed include boarding passes, money (e.g., bills and coins), tissues, eye glasses, cell phones and keys.
- TSA recommends securing these items in carry-on luggage prior to entering the body scanner.
- When being screened by the body scanner, place both hands in the air, over the head. Stand as still as possible during the scan, which takes two to three seconds.
After TSA completed installation of the AIT machine at SGU, TSA officers were trained in its use. The AIT will be used as the primary method of passenger screening for travelers departing SGU.