PHL Program Underway to Replace Older Explosive Detection System Machines

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) has embarked on a program to replace older Explosive Detection System (EDS) machines -- the equipment that scans passengers' checked baggage prior to it being loaded onto an aircraft--  with newer, more efficient equipment. The existing CTX9400 EDS machines will be replaced with CTX-9800 SEIOs as part of the Terminal D-E Checked Baggage Inspection System (CBIS) Recapitalization project.

“The older machines require regular maintenance and have provided difficult to work with as demands creep up in the two terminals,” noted Project Manager Jason Williams. “The x-ray images produced by the new machines are also much clearer for the TSA agents to review if there is something in the bag that raises a red flag. Better imaging means less confusion if a bag needs secondary review.”

The current Terminal D and E Checked Baggage Inspection System is divided into two EDS screening matrices, one for Terminal D and one for Terminal E. A feasibility study determined that instead of replacing the machines one-for-one, the system could be optimized reducing the total number of EDS Machines to six (6), or three (3) on each matrix.  The study was based on planning forecasts and projected growth through 2025. Total estimated cost of the project is $6.3 million, of which $5.3 million is being funded by a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) grant.

“We are grateful to TSA for their support of important projects such as this,” said Deputy Director of Aviation, Capital Development Api Appulingam. “The airport values its partnership with TSA in our continuing efforts to keep PHL safe and running efficiently.”

The existing machines will be shut down and replaced one at a time and during the lower volume times of passenger travel to avoid major impacts to operating airlines.  There are seven phases in all including six for the replacement of the EDS machines, and one for initial site preparations and modifications necessary to receive the new machines.  Each machine installation will require TSA directed testing to ensure that the machines are operating at an acceptable rate.

Construction kicked off in January and the projected completion date is May 2022.


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Heather Redfern
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