>Transportation Security Administration Expands Explosives Detection Capability at Coastal Carolina Regional Airport

Above photo: Airport Executive Director Tom Braaten receiving Annual Homeland Security Award from TSA Federal Security Director Michael Zunk.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced the deployment of a new explosives detection system machine for screening checked baggage at Coastal Carolina Regional Airport.

“This new machine will help us screen checked baggage more quickly and efficiently,” said Michael Zunk, TSA federal security director. “We appreciate the cooperation and assistance of airport executive director Tom Braaten and his staff in bringing this security enhancement to Coastal Carolina Regional Airport.”

Through CT scan technology and sophisticated algorithms, explosives detection system machines can quickly determine if a bag contains a potential threat. If a weapon or potential explosive is detected, the machines alert transportation security officers so they can manage the bag appropriately.

Prior to the deployment of this equipment, TSA officers had to swab each bag to screen it for explosives. The new machine is fully automated, eliminating the need to swab each bag and reducing the number of bags that have to be opened.

“This new technology provides a win-win for the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport,” said Tom Braaten, Coastal Carolina Regional Airport Director. “It will help us provide safety and better service to our increasing number of passengers, and they will have the convenience of giving their luggage to the air carrier and not handling it again until they reach their final destination.

As of June 2010, TSA has deployed 383 reduced-sized explosives detection system machines at a total of 153 airports. The machines cost approximately $340,000 and are smaller than other explosives detection system machines currently in use at many commercial airports nationwide.

The machine at Coastal Carolina Regional Airport was purchased with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. In September 2009, TSA announced that it was purchasing reduced-size explosives detection system equipment using approximately $30 million in ARRA funds.

For more information about TSA, please visit our website.

Submitted by: Shirley Gabbert, Financial Manager, Coastal Carolina Regional Airport