Security changes underway at JIA
September 3, 2015
Roger Weeder, First Coast News

Changes in technology when it comes to screening luggage are resulting in changes at Jacksonville International Airport.

Dated equipment that screens checked-in luggage is being replaced at a cost of $19 million with the Transportation Security Administration picking up 90 percent of the bill.

The transition will take time, so starting on Tuesday half of the airport will have temporary screening devices in place requiring air travelers to walk their luggage to the machines after being ticketed.

The changes on Tuesday will affect people flying Delta, Jet Blue, Silver and United airlines.

The temporary changes are not expected to create any delays.

The equipment upgrades, which are being made behind the scenes, will increase the speed which bags can be screened.

"The new machines, the gas just passes through without stopping, they are twice as fast," said Michael Stewart, airport spokesman.

The work that already is underway is expected to be finished by February. Then the process starts over with the temporary screening equipment moving to the other side of the terminal, so the same changes can be made.

TSA reports 14 guns, including 12 that were loaded, were intercepted by the agency handling carry-on luggage at JIA so far this year.

On Thursday, the Transportation Security Administration showed some of items confiscated from passengers in recent weeks. The property is considered surplus and is disposed of by companies that are contracted to handle abandoned property.

TSA spokesperson Sari Koshetz says at JIA 1,300 pounds of metal is the weight of the surplus property so far this year. Items that passengers left behind include power tools, knives both large and small and popular credit card knives.

Koshetz says some air travelers just forgot they had guns in their luggage. The owners can get their weapons back once police get involved to make sure everything checks out.

Travelers are reminded the many of the items confiscated at the carry on checkpoint can accompany travelers if included in checked-in luggage.