Friday, March 19th, 2010
CHICAGO — All airline passengers in the U.S. will eventually be required to undergo a full-body scan before boarding planes, just as metal detectors became a standard and accepted part of the screening process at airports decades ago, the federal transportation security chief in Chicago said Monday.
As a body-scanning machine was used to screen passengers for the first time on Monday at O’Hare International Airport, federal and city officials said they expect the airport will receive more body-imaging technology later this year to help address one of the biggest terrorism threats to commercial aviation, suicide bombers on planes.
The Transportation Security Administration plans to send hundreds of the scanners, which cost between $130,000 and $170,000 each, to all major U.S. airports. The scanners use low-dose X-ray to go underneath clothing and display weapons, explosives and other objects that might be hidden on the body, above the skin.
So far, 21 airports are equipped with the units and nine more are slated to receive the scanners soon, officials said. The security agency plans to deploy 450 body scanners to an undetermined number of airports this year.