Baltimore/Washington International Airport Gets Explosives Trace Detection Portal

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U. S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Transportation Security Administration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  - February 8, 2005 TSA Press Office: (571) 227-2829

TSA's new Chief of Staff, James Fuller, on hand to unveil the equipment

Washington, D.C. - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) will be the eighth airport to receive a new explosives detection trace portal to screen passengers at the Pier D security checkpoint, starting today.  The equipment is part of the Phase II pilot program to test and evaluate the trace portal for screening passengers for explosives.  

"TSA is delivering on its promise to leverage state-of-the-art equipment to prevent explosives from getting on-board aircraft," said James Fuller, TSA Chief of Staff.  "This is part of TSA's pledge to provide the traveling public the highest levels of security and customer service."

Last summer during Phase I of the pilot, TSA began field testing trace portals at passenger security checkpoints at airports in Providence, R.I., Rochester, N.Y., San Diego, Tampa, and Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss.  In fall 2004, TSA deployed a trace portal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in N.Y., and last month, the agency installed equipment at Jacksonville (Fla.) International Airport.  TSA will deploy this equipment at six additional airports by late spring.  The pilot, scheduled to continue through the summer, will provide data on the impact of the equipment on security and customer service.

"BWI welcomes the opportunity to test this equipment," said Paul Malandrino, TSA Federal Security Director.  "As the nation's first airport to get federally-trained screeners and to serve as a test bed for many of TSA's procedures and protocols, BWI has always been on the forefront of post-9/11 airport security."

At BWI, some passengers will be directed by the TSA screeners to step into the trace portal.  Passengers will stand still for a few seconds while several "puffs" of air are released.  The portal will analyze the air for traces of explosives and a computerized voice will tell passengers when to exit.