Local News

Baggage screening more efficient at RDU's new terminal

Posted December 30, 2008 5:54 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:11 p.m. EDT

— Pre-9/11 convenience in a post-9/11 world – that's part of the goal behind a new screening process at Raleigh-Durham International Airport's state-of-the-art Terminal 2.

The $3.6 million in-line, explosives-detection, baggage-screening system, in use at about 50 airports across the U.S., is designed to quickly detect and address potential threats.

About four miles of conveyor belts route every checked bag through one of four explosive-detection-system machines. They capture an image of each bag and track it with a bar code.

Most bags are cleared and sent along the route, never to be physically searched.

About 5 to 7 percent are flagged and sent to a separate room for Transportation Security Administration workers to search.

Bags that they inspect will contain a note indicating they have been opened and searched.

"It's a very sophisticated technology that's employed, and in most cases, it can make the determination automatically," said Jon Allen, a TSA public affairs officer.

TSA says the average bag spends less than 10 minutes going through the system and therefore, quickly and safely makes it on the luggage cart and to the correct flight.

Allen says that also means more TSA officials are out in other parts of the airport, making sure those areas are safe.

Terminal 1, the older of RDU's terminals, has an explosive-detection system, but it is not in-line. That means less efficiency and more waiting for passengers.