Transportation sets a method for baggage screening

Transportation sets a method for baggage screening

The Transportation Department today announced a multilayered security system to screen baggage, the latest in a series of aviation security upgrades since Sept. 11.

Airlines face a Friday deadline set by Congress for establishing procedures to screen all checked bags for explosives, Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting in Washington.

Checked and carry-on baggage will be screened using explosive-detection system (EDS) equipment, an expanded computer-assisted passenger prescreening system, explosive trace detection, canine teams and manual searches, or a combination of these methods, according to guidelines which will be supervised by the department's Transportation Security Administration.

'Every available EDS machine will be used to its maximum capacity,' Mineta said. 'Where we do not yet have EDS resources in place, we will use other options outlined in the law.'

Computers will screen passengers for weapons, often many times.

'We will continuously upgrade our screening capability, ultimately meeting the requirement that each checked bag be screened by an EDS by the end of this year,' he said.

Every piece of baggage loaded into the cargo compartment of an originating flight will be matched to a passenger on board or the baggage will be removed before the aircraft leaves the terminal.

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