TSA Reports Aircraft Screening Achievement

Four full months before the first congressional deadline, the Transportation Security Administration has announced it is already screening all cargo on narrow body, passenger-carrying aircraft. Narrow bodies such as Boeing 737s, Airbus A320s, and thousands of regional jets make up more than 90 percent of all passenger-carrying aircraft in the United States. This milestone is a significant one en route to screening all cargo on passenger planes. Congress has mandated through the 9/11 law that 50 percent of cargo on passenger-carrying aircraft be screened by February 2009 and 100 percent of cargo be screened by August 2010.

The cargo on these aircraft is currently being screened by explosive detection systems, physical inspections, canines, and other methods, the agency said, adding that hese are the same methods that will be used to screen cargo on other aircraft. Other measures currently in place include screening all cargo at hundreds of small airports from coast to coast, screening cargo requested for specific flights or destinations, deploying more than 500 specially trained explosive detection canines to airports, allowing only verified shippers to place cargo on passenger carrying airplanes, and aggressively inspecting cargo operations with hundreds of inspectors.

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