More convenient travel means more travel, period, which is why the U.S. Travel Association has long championed boosting technology and innovation at travel security checkpoints.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced a big step forward on this front, awarding a $100 million contract for new computed-tomography, or CT, scanners that will be deployed across U.S. airports over the next couple of years. Politico (subscription) reports that the contract will pay for 300 such scanners—out of the roughly 2,000 needed to fully replace x-ray systems. Subsequent contracts are envisioned to spread CT technology further throughout the country, the report says.
The virtue of CT scanners is that “we will eventually get to the point, probably in three or four years, where passengers going through our screening checkpoints will not need to take laptops, liquids, aerosols, gels, powders or food items out of their carry-on bags,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said on a press call Friday.
My boss, U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow, speaks often of his vision that one day air travelers will be able to walk from the curb, through the airport terminal, and onto their plane without breaking stride—and, crucially, that the system will be every bit or more secure than it is today. The economic benefit of realizing that vision would be enormous.
TSA’s announcement represents substantive progress toward that goal, and we thank Administrator Pekoske, his colleagues at that agency, and Congress for their commitment to a more streamlined, efficient, and secure air travel security process.