New bag screening technology at LC Regional Airport

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Travelers want to be safe when they fly, but it's frustrating when security measures slow them down.

Officials at the Lake Charles Regional Airport unveiled the latest technology behind the scenes there that will make it more efficient for officers to screen bags for explosives.

About 128,000 travelers came through the Lake Charles Regional Airport last year and each checked bag had to be opened and examined by Transportation Safety Administration Officers. Many travelers including Desiree Broadnax don't like the idea of someone digging around in their suitcase.  "The fact that someone's going through our personal items, whether if it's just socks and shorts, it's still like, why are you in my privacy."

But the new equipment now in place means your bag now undergoes a CT scan as Security Director Jeff Allison explains. "The CT80 has the capacity to screen or process roughly between 180 and 225 bags an hour and it also limits the amount of the time the TSOs actually have to spend handling the bags."

Airport Director Heath Allen says they're pleased to be able to improve efficiency. "Last two years we've had double digit increases in passengers so anything that we could do to make our facility more efficient, and that includes the movement of baggage, is certainly a plus because we are a growing airport."

And for most people it will eliminate that disconcerting feeling that someone has been digging around in your stuff. Says Allison, "If the bag alarms for something that's suspicious that would be a circumstance in which the TSO would actually have to go into a bag and that would be the only time they would have to go into anybody's bag."

Passengers welcome the new technology. Says Desiree, "It will speed of the process of making airport traffic a lot easier through the holidays and what have you."

The new machines cost about $340,000 and are smaller than similar machines at many commercial airports.

Since January TSA has put 455 reduced size explosives detection machines at 174 airports. Before, officers had to swab each bag to screen it for explosives.

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