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Old Jan 8, 07, 5:46 pm   #1
 
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Why still ETD screening for checked bags? CTX in BKK

1. Why is there still ETD baggage screening going on? There have been a number of airports that have gone to in-line baggage screening, freeing up CTX or L3 machines from those airports. Also, TSA has had 4 years to acquire more machines. (Open bag, closed bag, and open bag aggressive ETD screening was allowed as contingency back in 2002 as there were not enough CTX or L3 machines to do the job at the time.)

DTW comes to mind. They have a bunch of TSA baggage screeners standing behind airline check-in agents doing closed bag ETD testing and open bag ETD testing if the bag is small and doesn't have a lock, TSA or non-TSA. A few bags get a special X-ray tag, which results in the bag being sent to a CTX machine. It seems like adding more machines would increase throughput, making screening more meticulous and efficient. Also, personnel could be cut.

2. A new airport in Bangkok opened last September. It has state-of-the-art, in-line baggage screening, using 20+ CTX machines, the exact same machines that the US uses. No bags have to be unlocked or require a special lock. Passengers are simply paged if security wishes to search a bag. It has been argued that TSA searches bags without their owners' presence because of a time constraint to deliver the bag to the airline, too many people would be paged on a regular basis, and searching for the owner takes time. So that would imply that alarm rates are higher in the US.

Does this imply that BKK baggage screening has lower standards than the US? (i.e. The US has a broader criteria for physically inspecting a bag based on a CTX scan?)
Wiirachay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 9, 07, 2:25 pm   #2
 
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Money.

Those in-line systems cost huge dollars to put in place, and retrofitting to old terminals is extremely expensive and disruptive to operations.

Foreign airports do not operate the machines to the same standard that TSA does. Foreign airports may also use different software (algorithms) in the machines, too.
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Old Jan 9, 07, 3:38 pm   #3
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LeoB covered the money and space aspect.

There are still some US airports that swab. Most of the Hawaiian airports come to mind.

The rule is that a checked bag must be CTXed, swabbed, dog-sniffed or hand-inspected.
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Old Jan 9, 07, 5:12 pm   #4
 
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Thanks LeoB. (Are you a LEO or is your name Leo?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeoB View Post
Money.

Those in-line systems cost huge dollars to put in place, and retrofitting to old terminals is extremely expensive and disruptive to operations.
But still, ATL and DFW had all those free-standing CTX machines in the lobby that could've been placed in other airport lobbies. But then, there are a bunch of airports in the USA in need of CTX and L3 machines.

Quote:
Foreign airports do not operate the machines to the same standard that TSA does. Foreign airports may also use different software (algorithms) in the machines, too.
You have a point there. I used to think it was a one-size fits all machine with a uniform set of on-screen resolution tools. So, perhaps TSA does have some proprietary algorithms that aren't used abroad. I've been searching for an answer to this for at least two years. Perhaps this explains why alarm rates are higher. Perhaps I could stop knocking TSA on the alarm issue.

Regardless, regular swabbing without CTX first as a screening measure should be phased out so staff can be cut and efficiency can be higher. I've been considering writing to my local politicians to increase funding for in-line systems and acquisition of more free-standing CTX and L3 machines.

(I'm still ticked about the $500k "Lifetime Awards" banquet that TSA held a few years ago. That money could've purchased half a CTX machine. )

- Pat

Last edited by Wiirachay; Jan 9, 07 at 5:19 pm.
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