Mon, Aug 10, 2015
By Roger Bull
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority is about to spend $19 million on the airport’s baggage screening system. For the passengers, that’s going to mean carrying their own bags a little further for a little while.
Jacksonville International Airport is getting six new CTX machines. Those are the ones that screen your bags after you’ve dropped them off at the ticket counter. The bags head down conveyor belts to the mini-van sized CTX (computed tomography X-ray) machines that the federal government has required since the attacks of Sept. 11.
“Think of them as giant MRI machines,” said Debbie Jones, spokeswoman for JAA.
JIA got its machines in 2002. Now they’re worn out, she said, and the airport is getting the newest models. That means construction for the new conveyor belts, etc.
Passengers won’t see any of it going on, but they will be affected. While the work is being done, they won’t be able to leave their bags at the ticket counter. Instead, they’ll have to carry them down to the end of the counter and leave them there.
Jones said that’s the permanent system in some airports.
The work is being done in two phases. Starting next month, the work will be done at the north end of the terminal – JetBlue, Silver, United and Delta – and passengers will have to tote their bags.
Six or seven months later, construction will switch to the south end – Southwest, American, US Airways and Allegiant.
The whole project will take 12 or 14 months, Jones said.
The airport screens about 4,500 bags a day. That’s down 3,100 a day since 2010, despite an increase in passengers.
“Since more airlines are charging for checked bags,” Jones said, “a lot of people are (not) checking (bags).”
Roger Bull: (904) 359-4296