Pittsburgh International Receives Trace Portal Machines from TSA

Oct. 13, 2005
TSA to deploy the technology to airports in Charlotte, San Juan, Washington, D.C., Fort Lauderdale, and New York

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it has deployed an explosives detection trace portal to the passenger security checkpoint at the Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT).

"Trace portals allow TSA to expand its capability to detect explosives in a more traveler friendly manner," said Joseph P. Terrell TSA's Federal Security Director at PIT. "These innovative machines are an example of TSA's efforts to utilize the latest technology to continue to raise the bar in aviation security."

Passengers identified as needing additional screening will pass through the trace portal for explosives detection screening. As passengers enter the trace portal, they are asked to stand still for a few seconds while several "bursts" of air are released, dislodging microscopic particles from passengers that are then collected and analyzed for traces of explosives. A computerized voice indicates when a passenger may exit the portal. Screeners will take necessary and appropriate steps to resolve possible alarms.

"This significant security enhancement would not be possible without the cooperation and hard work of the Allegheny County Airport Authority and our airline partners," Terrell added. "Working together we will continue to enhance security and the overall traveler experience."

TSA has already advanced its explosives detection capabilities at the passenger security checkpoint by deploying trace portals at airports in Baltimore; Boston; Dallas (DFW); Gulfport, Miss.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; Newark; New York (JFK); Palm Beach, Phoenix; Providence, R.I.; Rochester, N.Y.; San Francisco; San Diego; and Tampa, Fla.

Prior to the start of the holiday travel season, TSA plans to deploy this technology to six more airports in Charlotte, N.C.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; New York (LaGuardia); San Juan, P.R., and Washington, D.C. (both Dulles and Reagan National).

TSA will continue to increase its explosives detection capabilities and expects to announce the next round of airports to receive these trace portal machines by the end of the summer. TSA anticipates deploying 100 additional machines to the nation's largest airports by January 2006.

TSA purchased the trace portal equipment from two vendors: GE Infrastructure, Security and Smiths Detection. TSA is working on a procurement strategy for the next round of equipment purchases, which costs more than $160,000 per machine.