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American Airlines is using a CT scanner to screen luggage at New York’s JFK airport

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Up to 240 could be in airports by the end of next year

New CT scanner for American Airlines Image: American Airlines

American Airlines has announced that it is working with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to install a new bag-scanning machine at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The machine uses the same technology as CT scanners, providing a 3D image of a bag’s contents, and is expected to be operational in late July.

The new scanner, which will be used at the airport’s Terminal 8 security checkpoint, will allow TSA to rotate a bag’s image 360 degrees to show its contents. American Airlines says this should provide a more effective way for agents to inspect bags for explosives and other prohibited items.

TSA administrator David Pekoske tells CBS News that the new machines could allow for liquids, gels, aerosols, and laptops to be left in bags. “We think in perhaps five years or so, the passengers won’t have to take anything out of their carry-on bags.” Pekoske also told CBS News that the machine’s sensitivity will make the security process faster compared to traditional X-ray systems. “What it’s capable of doing is detecting a wider range of explosives, which is very important, [as well as] a much lower weight of explosives. They’re just much better at detection, so you really get better security faster, essentially.”

The TSA plans to have 15 of the new CT scanners at airports by the end of the year, and are authorized to purchase up to 240 of the machines, which cost $300,000 each, in 2019. The technology has also been tested at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and in Boston.