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New screening system debuts at LR airport

By Lisa Burnett

This article was originally published October 16, 2012 at 3:17 p.m. Updated October 16, 2012 at 3:48 p.m.

New baggage screening system at LR airport

Airport officials unveiled the newest addition to the airport remodel project on Tuesday, a new baggage screening system. The new system will allow for faster, more efficient baggage checking. (By Lisa Burnett)
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— The Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport debuted its new in-line baggage system on Tuesday. 

The new system is a part of the $67 million expansion of the airport. Nearly $12 million was provided by Transportation Security Administration grants to purchase the new equipment, airport officials said in a news release.

Bob East, commissioner of the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission, said the in-line baggage system will double the rate of inspecting baggage, making screening bags much easier and quicker. 

According to TSA, an in-line baggage screening system uses a conveyor belt infrastructure to automatically screen, sort and track baggage. The screening system will streamline the checked baggage screening process by maximizing baggage throughout and cutting down the number of physical injuries sustained by security officers after lifting heavy bags, the administration said. 

Joe O'Gorman, acting federal security director of the TSA, said baggage is now only checked by hand if TSA officers have been alerted by the new system. 

Alerts are sent to officers who are notified when the computers, that detect shapes and textures, see something that could potentially cause concern. 

Ronald R. Mathieu, executive director of the airport, said the airport began using the new system at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Mathieu said taking the screening machines out of the lobby of the airport will "ensure a much safer, more efficient operation" while screening baggage.

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