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BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, TSA, and AirTran Airways Unveil New Inline Baggage Screening System

D/E Baggage Screening and Claims Improvement Project to Provide Added Capacity for AirTran Growth


Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport today prepared to activate a sophisticated new inline baggage screening system. The D/E Baggage Screening and Claims Improvement project (DEBSCI) constructed a new outbound baggage security system to help accommodate further growth of AirTran Airways at BWI Marshall.

“This new state-of-the-art baggage system will provide AirTran with the capacity to continue its growth at BWI Marshall Airport,” said Paul J. Wiedefeld, Executive Director of BWI Marshall. “From ticketing to aircraft, and from aircraft to baggage claim, the DEBSCI project streamlines the process for a growing volume of checked baggage.”

The outbound baggage handling system seamlessly transports checked baggage from the airline ticket counter and the curbside check-in, through the security screening procedures, and on to the baggage make-up room for transfer to departing aircraft. The cost for BWI Marshall’s new DEBSCI project was about $39 million. The project was financed through Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs), the fees paid by enplaned passengers to fund FAA-approved projects that enhance safety, security, or capacity. The TSA also contributed about $10.8 million in federal funding for the DEBSCI project.

“This enhancement increases the overall efficiency of the baggage screening system while continuing to provide a high level of security here at BWI Marshall,” said Phil Burdette, the TSA’s Federal Security Director for BWI Marshall Airport.

The DEBSCI project constructed a new, fully integrated outbound baggage screening system for AirTran. The new system provides additional baggage screening capacity for AirTran, the second largest and the fastest growing airline at BWI Marshall Airport. The project also created: a dedicated curbside check-in belt, an expanded baggage make-up facility, a renovated baggage claim area used by AirTran and United Airlines, and an addition to the existing terminal building to enclose the expanded baggage handling system. Construction began in May 2008.

“The new baggage screening system makes flying more convenient than ever for our customers while allowing us the opportunity to continue to expand and succeed at BWI,” said Tad Hutcheson, AirTran Airways’ vice president of marketing and sales. “As a result of the foresight of the airport’s management on projects like this, we are well positioned for the long-term at an important airport in our nationwide system.”