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This photo shows the CT unit in operation at another airport. (TSA)

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has begun using a computed tomography (CT) scanner at the security checkpoint at Huntsville International Airport.

“The technology reduces the number of bags that need to be opened to resolve a possible threat, meaning fewer touchpoints during the pandemic, as well as a streamlined screening experience,” said Federal Security Director Gail Linkins. “The CT machine employs a sophisticated algorithm to analyze the contents of each bag and allows TSA officers to rotate the image for a thorough analysis.”

When the CT is in use, travelers do not need to remove electronics, food or travel-size liquids from carry-on luggage. Passengers in the TSA Precheck program have that benefit regardless of whether the CT is in use and all travelers are encouraged to sign up for the program.

“One of Huntsville International Airport’s top priorities throughout the pandemic continues to be keeping passengers, tenants and employees safe”, said Rick Tucker, Huntsville International Airport CEO. “This is also a priority for our partners across the airport as evidenced by the Transportation Security Administration’s continued efforts to reduce touchpoints. We are pleased that TSA in Huntsville will now offer this new technology as we all continue to work to provide our region with a facility that continues to improve safety and that our customers can utilize comfortably.”

In addition to the use of technology, TSA has implemented changes to the security screening process to reduce the potential for cross-contamination in the security checkpoint known as the “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign. It focuses on modifications to procedures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Passengers can expect to see:

  • All security officers wearing face masks and gloves during the screening process. If a security officer is working in close proximity to travelers, they are also required to wear eye protection or a face shield. Security officers will change their gloves after each screening position rotation, after a pat-down or upon a passenger’s request
  • Reduced physical contact due to the installation of acrylic barriers at the airport that limit exposure between security officers and travelers when presenting their boarding pass and ID.
  • Social distancing leading up to and in the security checkpoint environment.
  • And through TSA’s partnership with the airport, increased frequency and intensity of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in the security checkpoint including bins. This is no substitute for practicing good hygiene while traveling. Travelers are encouraged to wash their hands before and after going through the checkpoint.

The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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