Officials with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have announced the installation of new checkpoint computed tomography (CT) X-ray scanners at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport (LBB) and spoke airports in the operational area. The spoke system creates economies of scale that allow an airline to serve city-pairs that could otherwise not be economically served on a non-stop basis.
Installation of the new equipment will occur in a phased approach, with one new lane being equipped weekly over the next month. Once each lane is modified and completes certification, it will open for screening before installation of the next lane begins.
During the project, only one security screening lane will be in operation and passengers are urged to arrive at the terminal at least two hours prior to scheduled departure times.
The new CT scanners will be used to screen travelers’ carry-on luggage in the security checkpoints. CT units apply a sophisticated algorithm as they generate a 3-D image of the contents of the carry-on bag. A TSA officer can manipulate the 3-D X-ray image on-screen to allow for a better view of the bag’s contents, ultimately reducing the number of bag checks that are required.
When a carry-on bag is screened through a CT scanner, travelers can leave everything in their carry-on bag, including electronics larger than a cell phone and food. The opening to the X-ray tunnel on a CT unit is slightly smaller than on a traditional X-ray unit so TSA advises travelers not to force larger items into the tunnel, but to ask a TSA officer for assistance. Another feature of the CT scanner system is every carry-on item must be placed in a bin for screening.
“Use of CT technology at our security checkpoints is a win-win for TSA and passengers,” said Gilbert Almaraz, TSA Federal Security Director for Central and North-West Texas airports. “We get increased detection capability which leads to fewer bag checks, and passengers get to leave their electronics and 3-1-1 liquids in their bags.”
The installation schedule is as follows:
April 10 – San Angelo Regional Airport, Mathis Field (SJT)
April 17 – Easterwood Airport, College Station (CLL)
April 24 thru May 1 – Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport (LBB)
April 24 thru May 1 – Midland International Air & Space Port (MAF)
May 8 – Waco Regional Airport (ACT)