Summer vacationers flying from Kennedy Airport Terminals 2 and 4 should clear security more swiftly due to new automation, the Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday.
Improvements include bins large enough to hold wheeled luggage, and automated rollers that carry them to be X-rayed, the TSA said in a statement with Delta Air Lines, which flies out of the terminals, and JFKIAT, LLC, which runs Terminal 4.
Security gets a boost as luggage also is photographed, assuring identification, while it is X-rayed.
And each bin has a Unique Radio Frequency Identification tag to ensure passengers are accountable. Any bags deemed suspicious are automatically diverted for extra testing.
A TSA spokesman could not say how much faster the new system would perform versus the current one, which forces people to wait until the people in front of them have loaded their bins and walked through the security screening.
The new system instead allows someone waiting on a slower person to push his or her bin forward onto the rollers that parallel the counter, and walk through the screening gate first.
The conveyors return empty bins to what the TSA calls “multiple divesting stations,” but which passengers might define as the start of security, where they load the bins and remove shoes, coats and sometimes belts.
Kennedy’s Terminal 4 handles nearly 21 million passengers a year; the airport is only the fifth in the country to get the new systems.
The only local airport that already has the automated security lanes is Newark-Liberty Airport. A TSA spokesman could not say when they will be installed at LaGuardia Airport.
Kennedy’s Terminal 2 now has two automated screening lanes; Terminal 4 has four.
One more will be installed in Terminal 2, and 10 more at Terminal 4 “in the weeks ahead,” the statement said.
John Bambury, TSA’s federal security director at the airport, said, “We look at this new equipment as being able to provide enhanced security while improving the customer experience for travelers.”