SIOUX CITY | Travelers departing from Sioux City's airport should now be able to pass through the terminal's security checkpoint quicker.
Screening technology added this week at Sioux Gateway Airport is also expected to make it easier for federal security officers to do their jobs.
Travelers flying through larger airports are familiar with stepping inside a machine and holding their hands above their heads while they're screened for prohibited items. Known as Advanced Imaging Technology, one of those screening stations was installed at Sioux Gateway Wednesday. Transportation Security Administration officials showed off the new equipment to the media on Friday.
Sioux City's airport has been equipped with what's called the AIT-2, a second generation of AIT systems that have been deployed in airports across the United States since 2009.
The scanning system can detect metallic and nonmetallic items, including weapons, explosives and other items not prohibited on airplanes. The newer model also works well in airports the size of Sioux Gateway, TSA spokeswoman Carrie Harmon said.
"One of the good things about this machine is it has a smaller footprint so it works better at smaller airports," Harmon said.
The new scanner is an improvement over the previous walk-through metal detector, she said, because it can detect where on a traveler's body the questionable item is located so security officers need only pat down that area rather than the whole body.
Airport director Mike Collett said the TSA informed him last fall that it would be installing the screening equipment. It's another step in modernizing the airport, making travel more convenient and increasing security.
"I think it was already safe before," Collett said. "It's an added convenience for our passengers."