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Magic Valley Airport debuts new computerized x-ray scanner

TSA officials hosted a first-hand look at the new computed tomography scanner, which will now automate all checked baggage screening operations.

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A new baggage screening x-ray unit was just installed at the Magic Valley Regional Airport (TWF).

Officials with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) hosted a first-hand look at the new computed tomography scanner Friday, which will now automate all checked baggage screening operations.

“This is a great day for us here at Twin Falls Magic Valley Airport,” TSA Federal Security Director for Idaho Andy Coose said. “We have the latest and greatest screening technology for checked baggage installed here, which is good news for our officers because they no longer have to open every single bag that goes onboard and airplane out of this airport, and dig through passengers’ belongings.”

Prior to the new unit installation, TSA officers checked all TWF luggage through hand screening. TSA agents are required by law to screen all checked luggage for explosives and other security threats that would be dangerous onboard an aircraft.

The addition of the new machine should expedite that process.

“This greatly reduces the amount of time necessary to screen each bag," Coose said. "Before when each officer had to open a bag and go through it, it took considerably longer. Probably as much as five to ten times longer than each individual bag going through the machine does now.”

The x-ray machine is programmed to analyze the contents of each bag and scan for potential security threats. If bags are not cleared, they will be further inspected by airport staff.

“The new machine uses CT medical-type technology which does individual images, slices of the bag sort of like you had an MRI, and then give out an image of any items that need to be looked at," Coose said. "Only those bags that are found to have something that needs to be looked at are stopped."

The goal of the new technology is to ensure security threats are not able to make it onboard an aircraft.

“It’s a great thing for passengers because they can now be assured their bags are being screened to the highest possible security levels,” Coose said.

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