Ford Airport installs new body scanners

Published: Dec. 30, 2016 at 5:46 PM EST
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Ford Airport in Iron Mountain now houses equipment no other airport in the U.P. has—a new type of full-body scanner. With an advanced imaging technology unit, it is the first airport here that’s able to screen passengers without physical contact.

The Transportation Security Administration uses this state-of-the-art technology to safely and more efficiently screen passengers, and around the holidays, with a jam-packed airport, it seems like an ideal time to break it in and get things moving along faster.

"It was very quick; it was just a few seconds, versus doing a full body pat down,” Tim Howen the Manager at Ford Airport said. “It saved quite a bit of time, so, the new body screener will speed up the screening process for the passengers."

By using these A-I-T units, security is enhanced and the need for additional screening is reduced. People who have metal in their bodies, from surgery or other similar medical procedures can especially appreciate this.

"It also will make it more convenient for people who had surgeries, certain medical conditions, for them to be able to go through security much easier,” Howen said.

The device also adds a new level of privacy. All units have software that eliminates passenger-specific images and, instead, creates a generic outline of a person that is identical for all passengers. It auto-detects threats and highlights their location on this generic outline.

"Those passengers tend to prefer this technology because when they walk through a metal detector, that technology often could cause an alarm based on the metal joint replacement that a passenger might have,” Public Affairs Manager for the TSA, Michael McCarthy said. “But for this technology, there’s not a penetrator below the skin of the passengers, so we’re just looking what might be concealed under clothing.”

While with this device appears to get travelers from point A to point B more quickly and is able to detect threats while still preserving privacy, passengers are entitled to decline using the A-I-T and, instead, receive a pat down.

For more information on the TSA unit, visit