KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- Your wait time to get through security at McGhee Tyson Airport may be a little longer for the next few weeks as new technology is installed to make bag checks more efficient.
The Transportation Security Administration is switching out its scanning technology nationwide. It’s already begun right here in East Tennessee.
New scanners are being installed at the TSA security checkpoint here at McGhee Tyson Airport.
“We actually have some enhanced security capability in that its computer tomography is similar to what they have in hospitals,” Assistant Federal Security Director Eddie McGaha for TSA in East Tennessee said. “We just adapted it for security purposes.”
The original X-ray scanners only showed two-dimensional images. The new CT scanners create a more three-dimensional view of passengers’ items.
“They can now turn an image 360 degrees,” McGaha said. “So they’ll be able to see items in the bag better.”
The goal is to make security checkpoints more efficient.
“It’s good because they won’t have to take anything out of their bags,” McGaha explained. “That includes electronics and compliant liquids. Really, for both parties, it’s going to theoretically result in fewer bag checks.”
There will be three new scanners installed at McGhee Tyson.
“There’s probably about a quarter of the airports that have the technology already and more are on the way,” McGaha said.
One scanner takes about a week to install which means passengers need to be aware of the possibility of the extra wait time to go through security until that process is finished.
Once they are installed, every carry-on item must be placed in a bin for screening– not directly on the X-ray belt, and oversized bags can no longer be accommodated due to the size of the X-ray tunnel.
“Due to the newness of the technology, it may be a little bit slower process to start with,” McGaha said. “So we do encourage everyone to show up early. We always want people to be here in plenty of time for their flights.”
They expect installation to take about three weeks. They’re replacing all three of their current scanners one at a time which means they’ll have at least two scanners working at all times.