Waterloo Airport Receives New Baggage Checking Technology

Feb. 13, 2023
The airport recently unveiled an X-ray machine to screen checked baggage for those departing the airport. Before this, the Transportation Security Administration checked the bags by hand.

Feb. 10—WATERLOO — Travelers going through the Waterloo Regional Airport will see an expedited luggage process after new technology was installed.

The airport recently unveiled an X-ray machine to screen checked baggage for those departing the airport. Before this, the Transportation Security Administration checked the bags by hand.

"It's a much better experience for the passenger and their security benefits, too," Regional TSA Spokesperson Jessica Mayle said at a demonstration of the luggage checking process on Thursday.

Mayle said instead of a two dimensional X-ray image, a computer screen shows a 3D image that the TSA officers can rotate and stretch to let them identify items in the bag — resulting in fewer bag checks. The agency is required to screen all checked luggage for explosives and other security threats.

The machine is capable of screening up to 375 bags per hour at full capacity.

"This is unusual for Waterloo that we have this kind of upgraded technology at our facility," Airport Director Keith Kaspari said. "Usually a device like that is at busier airports."

The airport also has a similar machine to screen carry-on luggage which was installed in the summer of 2022.

"We're not trying to just sell passenger confidence, but passenger convenience," Kaspari said.

The airport is going through a number of upgrades in other places, as well. At this week's City Council meeting, four different projects were on the agenda.

The council awarded a $25,740 contract to K&W Electric of Cedar Falls to improve Hangar 3A. The project will replace old fluorescent lights from the 1970s with LED lights for the aircraft bay area lighting. It will be funded with federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act dollars.

A professional services agreement was approved with AECOM Technical Services, Inc. in an amount not to exceed $18,200 for improvements to Hangar 4. The project will replace the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system in the shop areas. That is paid for through the Commercial Service Vertical Infrastructure Project, which is an Iowa Department of Transportation-funded grant.

Two public hearings were also set for March 6. One is for the replacement of the HVAC controls in the passenger terminal building. The other is for the closed-circuit TV security and video system in the passenger terminal building.


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