TSA Installs State-of-the-Art Checkpoint Scanners at PHL

In its ongoing effort to deploy the latest security screening technology to keep the traveling public and airports safe and enhance the screening process, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has installed five new state-of-the-art advanced technology computed tomography checkpoint scanners at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). The scanners, which are in use at the A-East (2), D-E (2) and B checkpoints, provide 3-D imaging that allows officers to better determine whether an item inside a carry-on bag is a possible security threat. The TSA already uses the technology in its screening of checked baggage.

 According to Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director at PHL, “The new technology assists us in addressing new and emerging threats, allowing for better detection of those potential items by providing three-dimensional, high resolution X-ray images. It offers us critical explosives detection capabilities at the checkpoint and enhances the TSA officer’s ability in determining whether an item inside a carry-on bag is a possible threat to aviation security.”

According to TSA, the system applies sophisticated algorithms for the detection of explosives by creating a 3-D image that can be viewed and rotated on three axes for thorough visual image analysis by a TSA officer. The equipment is similar to what is used to scan checked baggage for explosive devices, and has been “sized” to fit at checkpoints to create such a clear image of a bag’s contents that the system can automatically detect non-metallic explosives, including liquid explosives, by shooting hundreds of images with an X-ray camera spinning around the conveyor belt to provide TSA officers with the three-dimensional views of the contents of a carry-on bag.

The 3-D imagery lets TSA officers manipulate the image on screen to get a better view of a bag’s contents and often allows the officers to clear items without having to open a carry-on bag. In addition to providing an improved security threat detection capability at the checkpoint, the technology also reduces the need to pull aside a bag to be inspected, thereby cutting down “touchpoints during the pandemic,” according to the TSA.

If a bag requires further screening, TSA officers will inspect it to ensure that a threat item is not contained inside.

According to the TSA, checkpoint CT technology should result in fewer bag checks. Passengers using the new scanner at PHL will be permitted to leave laptops and other electronic devices in their carry-on bags.

“Providing a safe airport environment for travelers and employees is our number one priority. The TSA is a valued partner in this effort, and we are pleased that TSA continues to introduce the latest technologies that make our airport safer and the screening process more efficient,” said Airport COO Keith Brune.

For the most up-to-date information about CT and to view a video of the X-ray monitor, visit TSA’s Computed Tomography web page.

The checkpoint scanners are the latest enhanced technology TSA has introduced at PHL. Earlier this summer, TSA began using Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) that validates a traveler’s identification and confirms their flight information in real-time.


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