SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has installed the latest passenger screening technology in the security checkpoint at the new terminal at San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP).
The new body scanner, also referred to as Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), will be used to screen passengers for metallic and non-metallic items including weapons, explosives and other objects that can be concealed in layers of clothing. The body scanner at SBP is a second-generation AIT with a smaller footprint than earlier versions of the same type of machine in use at other U.S. airports.
Every AIT unit operated by TSA, including the one at SBP, 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 indicates that an item may be concealed on a passenger, a yellow box appears onscreen, over 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 including those with metal hips or knee replacements prefer to be screened by the AIT. In addition, the AIT does not use X-ray technology and it does not generate X-ray specific images of any traveler.
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 including 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. If a passenger is unable to stand unassisted during the scan, please notify a TSA officer prior to stepping into the body scanner.
With the new and larger security checkpoint at SBP, TSA was able to install an AIT. TSA officers have been trained in its use and it will be used as the primary method of passenger screening for travelers departing SBP.