the Thanksgiving travel rush, Airport Authority President Charles
Airport security now scans arriving travelers' luggage on the
sidewalk in front of the main entrance or at the ticket counter.
Passengers can still drop off their luggage at the two sites after
Thanksgiving, but attendants will cart the items to a 40,000-
square-foot space built in July between the terminal and the runway.
"This will free up the sidewalk and make things much more
efficient for people, and their transaction time will be much
quicker," Lombardo said. "It's a safety and convenience issue."
Screeners now check baggage with technology that searches for
traces of explosives. The new machines use monitors to screen baggage
contents, airport spokesman Victor Gill said.
Airlines, unhappy with past screening machines, advised the
Airport Authority to hold off on installing the technology until
better versions were released, Gill said. But the federal
Transportation Security Administration said the CTX machines -- which
are in high demand at other airports -- must be installed in a
"timely fashion" or the Bob Hope Airport would lose its rights to the
The total cost of the conveyor system, installing it and hiring a
maintenance worker is expected to cost the airport $3.4 million. The
TSA spent $8 million to purchase the new scanning machines since it
operates the equipment.
"They should be up and running before Thanksgiving," Gill said.
"But it's pretty doubtful we'll use them until after Thanksgiving
because it's the busiest travel time of the year and we don't want to
work out the bugs during that time."
Airport Authority commissioners also voted to add six new shuttle
buses, which will cost nearly $1.3 million, Gill said. The
diesel-fueled buses, which will be running within six months, pollute
less than older models and are more accessible for wheelchairs.
Six of the fleet's nine buses, used to shuttle passengers to and
from parking lots, will be retired.