New scanners aid airport safety

Like airports nationwide following 9/11, Albany International was required by the Transportation Security Administration to step up security. As part of that ongoing effort, the TSA bought five new explosive detectors for the Albany International Airport last month.

According to Lara Uselding, a TSA spokeswoman, the organization was looking for a way to make the task of bag-checking more cost- and space-efficient.

Director of Public Affairs for the Albany International Airport Authority Doug Myers explained that bag checking has always been a high priority of the airport.

We have 100 percent bag screening, said Myers. "We had that even before 9/11, but security has increased since then."

Myers said the bags are checked after they leave the passenger's side upon check-in. After the passenger picks up his or her ticket or boarding pass, the bag is placed on a conveyor belt that leads to another room, where the Reveal CT-80 EDS uses high-image resolution to scan each bag quickly to determine whether it poses a threat or not.

In the past, airport personnel would have to sort through the bags to take them through the security screening process. After the screening was complete, they would once again have to separate the bags and deliver them to the appropriate airlines. Myers said this was very time-consuming and that the airport sought a more systematic way of handling bag screening.

"The Reveal CT-80s are smaller in size and are less than half the price of other machines currently in use at many commercial airports nationwide," said Uselding.

Uselding said the new machines were attractive to the TSA because they create a smaller footprint than other machines.

"So they are smaller, more efficient and inexpensive," she said.

Before, many airports relied on a manual search of bags, and, at times, in a random order.

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