Communications

Posted on: June 30, 2017

Albert J. Ellis Airport Receives State of the Art Screening Equipment

JACKSONVILLE, NC - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has installed the latest security checkpoint screening technology at the Albert J. Ellis Airport (OAJ).

Starting today, a new body scanner, also referred to as Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), is being used to screen passengers departing OAJ. The body scanner will screen for metallic and non-metallic items including weapons, explosives and other objects that can be concealed in layers of clothing. The body scanner at OAJ is a second-generation AIT with a smaller footprint than earlier versions of the same type of machine that are used at other U.S. airports.

The first passenger today to use the new equipment was a disabled veteran who travels frequently through OAJ. Beth Walker, TSA Federal Security Director for Central and Eastern North Carolina described it as an honor to have this passenger as the first to use the new scanner. This equipment will provide enhanced security and efficiency for passengers departing Jacksonville and surrounding communities during the summer travel season and beyond.

Every AIT unit operated by TSA is equipped with automated target recognition software, which is designed to enhance passenger privacy by creating a generic, computer generated outline that is identical for all travelers. If the body scanner detects a concealed item on the traveler, a yellow box appears on the generic outline. This box identifies where the TSA officer needs to conduct any follow-up screening.

The AIT unit is equipped with millimeter wave technology, which uses harmless electromagnetic waves to perform a single scan of the passenger. The technology meets all known national and international health and safety standards; the energy emitted by millimeter wave technology is 1,000 times less than the international limits and guidelines.

Many passengers with metal hips or knee replacements prefer to be screened by the AIT as it is not a metal detector. In addition, the AIT does not use X-ray technology and it does not generate X-ray specific images of any traveler.

Below are some tips to help travelers prepare for screening through the body scanner:

  • Remove all items - metallic and non-metallic - from pockets. Common items carried by passengers that should be removed include boarding passes, money (bills and coins), tissues, eye glasses, cell phones and keys.
  • TSA recommends securing these items in carry-on luggage prior to entering the body scanner.
  • When being screened by the body scanner, place both hands in the air, over the head. Stand as still as possible during the scan, which takes two to three seconds.

Prior to the installation of the AIT at OAJ, TSA officers were trained in its use. The AIT will be used as the primary method of passenger screening for travelers departing OAJ. “AITs are in use throughout the nation to enhance security, checkpoint efficiency and the passenger’s travel experience. We are pleased that this technology has arrived at OAJ,” said Chris White, A.A.E., Director of the Albert J. Ellis Airport. “The AIT will greatly improve the screening process for many of our veterans, service members and other guests, especially those who have undergone medical procedures such as joint replacements. With the recent growth at OAJ the AIT should help maintain short processing times and decrease the frequency of pat downs.”


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