Twin Cities airport to get automated security lanes

Markets Associated Press

Automated security lanes are expected to make it easier for air travelers at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport.

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The Metropolitan Airports Commission on Monday approved the purchase of the lanes, which promise to increase the capacity of passenger screening by as much as 40 percent by using automatic bin dispensers and conveyors, Minnesota Public Radio reported (http://bit.ly/2kjd965 ).

The Transportation Security Administration recommended the new system. It's expected to be in place for the summer travel season.

The equipment will occupy the center four lanes of the south checkpoint in Terminal 1. It'll feature stations with bin dispensers so people can fill bins without waiting as long for a spot. The loaded bins move on conveyor belts into X-ray inspection, and the system separates out bins that need extra inspection.

A memo on the purchase, requesting $1.6 million for the system, says airports with this equipment are moving travelers through security 10 to 40 percent faster.

"From the little bit of data we've seen from other airports, they are showing quite an increase in efficiencies," said Bridget Rief, director of airport development. "People are able to process faster through the system."

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She added that Minnesota's more bundled-up passengers may lead to somewhat less efficiency.

The new equipment is the first of a two-part upgrade that'll likely include more lanes for TSA screening stations.

The automated security systems debuted at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport late last spring and are in place at Chicago's O'Hare airport and the airport in Newark, New Jersey.

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org