For the first time ever, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), working collaboratively with American Airlines, is testing a computed tomography (CT) scanner in one checkpoint lane of Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).

CT checkpoint scanning equipment aims to enhance threat detection capabilities by providing a 3-D image that can be viewed and rotated for a more thorough analysis.

“The safety and security of travelers is the number one priority of TSA, and our partnership with industry, such as American Airlines, is critical in helping develop innovative and critical security enhancements,” said TSA Acting Administrator Huban Gowadia. “We already use this type of technology for checked baggage, and we expect these smaller checkpoint-sized machines will provide the same high level of security.”

“We are proud to be working collaboratively with the TSA to add new technology to the screening process,” said Kerry Philipovitch, American Airlines Senior Vice President – Customer Experience. “Enhancing aviation security is a shared responsibility, and we appreciate the TSA’s partnership in testing this new state-of-the-art equipment at our Phoenix hub.”

“As a major hub airport and an important partner of American Airlines, it is appropriate that Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is the first in the nation for this new technology,” said Sky Harbor Director of Aviation Services Jim Bennett. “Safety and security are our top priorities, followed closely by customer service. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with our airline partners and the TSA to better serve our travelers.”

The new CT screening equipment shoots hundreds of images with an X-ray camera that spins around the conveyor belt to provide officers with a picture of a carry-on bag to ensure it does not contain a threat item. The system applies sophisticated algorithms for the detection of explosives, firearms and other items banned in carry-on baggage.

3-D CT technology could make it possible to allow passengers to leave liquids, gels and aerosols, as well as laptops, in their carry-on bags at all times. This results in a quicker throughput and less bin use.

If the pilot testing is successful, TSA and American Airlines may deploy CT technology to other checkpoint locations.