[Skip to Content]
Port of Oakland and TSA Showcase State-of-the-Art Checked Baggage Screening System at Oakland International Airport

Port of Oakland and TSA Showcase State-of-the-Art Checked Baggage Screening System at Oakland International Airport

Press Releases
June 22nd, 2006

--New $16.4 million system enhances security and contributes to improved efficiency in passenger screening--

Oakland, Calif. -- Port of Oakland and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials demonstrated today the new $16.4 million in-line explosive detection baggage screening system now in place and operational at Oakland International Airport's (OAK) Terminal 2.

"Oakland is one of a few airports in the country to have an operational in-line system," said Fred Lau, TSA's Federal Security Director at Oakland. "Oakland International Airport is certainly on the cutting edge of technology and security. There is no question that this airport is committed to its passengers."

With the in-line system now in place, TSA has increased its average throughput from 250 bags an hour to over 1,000 bags per hour in Terminal 2. With travel at the airport up nearly 14 percent since TSA took over screening in 2002, this increased capacity is necessary to ensure all passengers and their bags arrive at their destination safe and secure.

The new system is designed to quickly detect and address any potential threats. All checked bags are routed by a complex system of conveyor belts to TSA's Explosive Detection System (EDS). These minivan-sized machines allow TSA screeners to separate innocent checked luggage from suspect bags. The suspect bags are then sent to a secondary screening area where they receive close scrutiny by highly-skilled TSA screeners. If a suspect bag poses a risk, it can be removed from the area and contained for intense inspection. This whole process can be completed in a matter of minutes.

The fully automated system offers two significant benefits for TSA employees. First, it reduces the amount of bag lifting for screeners resulting in fewer work related injuries and limiting fatigue. Second, the more efficient in-line process allows TSA to use fewer screeners for the checked baggage function. This frees up resources to handle increased passenger loads at the airport's two checkpoints and ensures TSA's screening capabilities can expand to meet increased demand at OAK.

The project is an example of the great partnership between TSA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Port of Oakland. TSA and FAA provided $11.7 million to assist in the construction of the system; provided all the screening equipment; and worked with the Port of Oakland and its contractors to ensure the design met security specifications. For its part, the Port of Oakland contributed $4.7 million and oversaw the planning, design and construction of the state-of-the-art security system.

"Oakland International Airport is pleased to partner with the Transportation Security Administration on this essential infrastructure that allows us to meet our mutual security objectives," said Steve Grossman, director of aviation for the Port of Oakland, the owner/operator of Oakland International Airport. "We will continue working with the TSA and our other security partners to identify opportunities for protecting the over 14 million passengers and 8,000 employees that use our facilities each year," he added.

OAK is one of 10 airports in the U.S. and four in California that currently offer in-line explosive detection screening systems. Burbank, John Wayne and San Francisco International are the other three West Coast airports.

Southwest Airlines is the only carrier operating from OAK's Terminal 2. With 140 daily nonstop departures to 21 U.S. cities, Southwest served nearly 60 percent of OAK's passengers in 2005. Now with its codeshare partner, ATA Airlines, Southwest connects travelers with the Hawaiian Islands. Oakland is Southwest's fifth busiest airport in terms of daily departures. Southwest began serving OAK in May 1989.

OAK has over 200 flights a day on 14 domestic and international carriers to 40 nonstop destinations, including Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington (begins Aug. 17), Boston, Fort Lauderdale, the Hawaiian Islands including Hilo, New York, Philadelphia, Washington/Dulles, and Mexico and seasonal service to the Azores (Portugal), Sun Valley, Idaho and Vancouver, British Columbia. OAK served 14.4 million passengers and handled over 671,000 metric tons of air cargo in 2005. Visit oaklandairport.com for more information.

For more information regarding TSA, please visit TSA.gov.