One checkpoint at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport will be outfitted with a computed-tomography (CT) scanner by the end of the year, the Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday.
The TSA will be partnering with American Airlines to test a new security screening procedure that aims to decrease wait times by up to 30 percent, according to a press release.
In Phoenix, TSA and American Airlines will also deploy a pilot program by the end of the year which incorporates CT technology, now only used to X-ray checked bags, into the security line. The new measures will be implemented this fall at American Airlines checkpoints in four of the country's busiest airports: Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Miami.
The automated screening lanes and CT testing together cost $5 million, American Chief Operating Officer Robert Isom said in a letter to employees Tuesday.
In a process now used to screen checked bags, computers analyze 3D images generated by scanners, and security workers step in to check bags the computers flag as suspicious.
In an interview last month, American's CEO Doug Parker said the world's largest airline was working with airports to roll out the faster lanes, already in place at rival Delta Air Lines Inc's Atlanta hub.
While some might argue the further expansion of TSA is the answer to reducing security wait times, a better policy solution would be for airports to hire approved, well-trained private security companies instead.
Currently, CT technology is used only to screen checked bags, Isom noted.
Bins would also be equipped with Radio Frequency Identification tags to help with additional tracking of the items. The TSA might expand the CT screening to other airports, depending on the trial's outcome. Eventually, the tech could also translate into passengers being able to leave their laptops and liquids inside their bags, which would also cut down a ton of waiting time. The TSA credits dogs with helping to greatly speed security screening queues because they can help migrate passengers into the PreCheck lanes.