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Stockton airport installing new high-tech security system, travelers should expect delays

The Stockton Metropolitan Airport says passengers should anticipate a longer than usual wait time as it undergoes high-tech security upgrades from Aug. 22-25.

STOCKTON, Calif. — The Stockton Metropolitan Airport says travelers may experience delays at check-in from Aug. 22-25 while the latest generation of security screening technology is being installed.

The current checkpoint X-ray is being replaced with a new high-tech 3D imaging.

“We're installing a computed tomography X-ray scanner to screen the carry-on property of departing travelers,” TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers said. “In doing so, it's going to give additional capabilities for our officers when screening carry on luggage.”

Computed Technology (CT) provided by Analogic's Checkpoint Security Screening Systems (CPSS) will allow for advanced explosives detection capabilities by applying a algorithm to generate a 3D image of the contents in carry-on bags.

The CT scanner technology enables officers to detect dangerous concealed objects without requiring passengers to remove electronics, food or travel-sized liquids from carry-on bags. This will help reduce the number of bag checks as TSA can resolve any potential security threats on-screen, according to TSA.

Due to the complexity of the software, TSA estimates it may take about a week to get the machine fully installed and ensure officers are properly trained to use them.

“When we're doing any type of equipment installation, that can disrupt the usual security screening process and there's nothing travelers can do to stop the delays that may occur,” Dankers said. “But what they can do, is they can come prepared for that period of time when the installation is taking place.”

TSA and Allegiant Air, the only airline currently flying out of Stockton Airport, suggest departing passengers arrive for flights extra early during that week.

“Before it becomes fully operational, our officers there will go through a classroom training on how to operate the technology to learn about its capabilities and then they're going to do an on the job training portion to be able to use it,” Dankers said. “So when travelers come through the security checkpoint, you might see that process going on – please be patient.”

Stockton Metropolitan Airport will be among the first half of the 440 federalized airports in the U.S. to receive this upgraded security, and more units will continue being put in place across the country.

“More than 165 airports nationwide have this type of technology,” Dankers said. “Many of those have had this technology installed throughout the summer because we are rolling these out to all airports of all sizes and so the number of airports that have this technology in place is growing."

According to Dankers, it's not uncommon for a small airport such as Stockton to have this type of security as it's standardized just as critically as any larger TSA regulated location.

“This is a state-of-the-art type of security equipment, and so we're pleased to have it in Stockton,” Dankers said.

Along with the number of high-tech security advantages the new CT scanners will offer, it will also relieve some of the congestion typically experienced at airports.

“They're much more compact, and that's why we're excited to have them in the checkpoint,” Dankers said. “We've been waiting for the technology to advance in such a way that they would become smaller units so that they can fit in that restricted area of the checkpoint and we're at that stage right now, so it's an exciting time for TSA.”

Due to the compact nature of the CT scanners, the tunnel opening is slightly smaller than on a traditional X-ray unit. TSA advises departing passengers to not force larger items into the tunnel and limit carry-ons to smaller bags and personal items.

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