The Transportation Security Administration’s chief cited Delta’s innovation lanes as a key component in improving airport security efficiency in a Senate hearing Tuesday.
Based on technology at the London-Heathrow Airport, the new innovation lanes streamline the bag scanning process to help get travelers through security checkpoints faster. Delta gave the TSA two of these lanes last month for use at the airline’s hometown airport in Atlanta, the world’s busiest airport.
“Through a public-private partnership with Delta Air Lines, we have recently installed two new automated lanes. These were done in just nine weeks and became operational last month in Atlanta,” said TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger at the hearing. “Initial results show dramatic improvements.”
Atlanta’s innovation lanes have five stations for travelers to deposit their bags for scanning, moving five people at a time through the checkpoint rather than the traditional single-file method. An automated bin system keeps empty bins circulating and routes bins that alarm the system to a separate area for inspection. The airline’s move to invest in the technology came as many airports across the U.S. had been facing long TSA wait times.
Neffenger explained that Delta quickly volunteered to get the innovation lanes in Atlanta.
“Delta Air Lines offered to jump in and purchase a couple of these automated systems… These first two lanes alone have shown tremendous promise in terms of improving efficiency, about a 30 percent improvement,” Neffenger said. “I think that is a critical element of transforming the system.”
The TSA administrator said other airlines and airports are interested in following Delta’s lead.