Some carry-on bags at McCarran International Airport will be scanned with the same technology used by hospitals for medical images, the Transportation Security Administration said Monday.
Computerized tomography, or CT imaging, already is used to screen checked baggage at the Las Vegas airport, but the units are now small enough to look inside carry-on bags passing through airport checkpoints, TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said.
The scanners will be deployed to McCarran and 14 other airports nationwide within the next few months, allowing TSA officers to see items more clearly.
“For the most part, there will be no difference from current carry-on screening except that, over time, processing is anticipated to be faster,” Dankers said. “The added level of security to the passenger would be transparent while gaining greater efficiency in processing time in the future.”
Several types of CT scanners made by Analogic, IDSS, L3 and Smiths Detection will be tested inside McCarran’s Terminal 3 to determine which units work best at the airport, Dankers said. Scanners start at $350,000, with funding approved by Congress.
The TSA has used X-ray machines that generate two-dimensional views of carry-on bags. CT technology allows workers to rotate 3D images to better analyze contents.
Algorithms in the system alert the TSA of possible explosive devices. Bags that require further screening will still be pulled aside for inspection by a TSA officer.
CT testing began last year at Phoenix Sky Harbor International and Boston’s Logan International airports.
The technology could help the TSA move toward a goal of allowing travelers to once again keep liquids and laptop computers in their bags at security checkpoints. Last week, TSA Administrator David Pekoske told CBS that “we think in perhaps five years or so, the passengers won’t have to take anything out of their carry-on bags.”
CT scanners will be deployed to 15 airports to screen carry-on bags
• McCarran International Airport
• Baltimore-Washington International Airport
• Chicago O’Hare International Airport
• Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
• Houston Hobby Airport
• Indianapolis International Airport
• New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport
• Boston’s Logan International Airport
• Los Angeles International Airport
• Oakland International Airport
• Philadelphia International Airport
• Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
• San Diego International Airport
• St. Louis Lambert International Airport
• Washington-Dulles International Airport
Source: Transportation Security Administration