Logan testing electronic cargo-screening program

FRAMINGHAM (10/15/2003) - Boston's Logan International Airport is the first major airport in the country to test electronic screening of air cargo stowed on departing commercial flights, Logan officials announced Tuesday.

The initial test program will use X-ray cargo-screening technology from New York-based L-3 Communications Holdings Inc.'s Security and Detection Systems division to scan entire trucks loaded with cargo bound for passenger aircraft, according to Jose Juves, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan.

Juves said the test, which will last 30 to 45 days, will be used by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to evaluate and assess the feasibility of a cargo-screening program at other airports and to develop the required operation protocol.

After this initial test, Logan will try out a combination of X-ray and explosive-detection-systems to scan pallets once they're taken off a truck and before they're put on an airplane, Juves said.

Logan is looking into a variety of technologies from a number of vendors, he said. "The theme of the program is screening air cargo, but we want to test a variety of different technologies and procedures and systems."

Juves said it was only logical that Logan would look into screening air cargo, since it was the first airport in the nation to fully implement in-line bag screening. "This was the next natural step for us to take. A lot of airports are focused on bag screening, but we built a US$146 million in-line system, so now we're trying to look ahead."

Juves said the data gleaned from the tests will be shared with the TSA.

"We hope to get a lot of airport experience to hand over to TSA as they develop their protocol and requirements for air cargo screening," he said.

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