MINNEAPOLIS — The Transportation Security Administration says new automated security lanes will make air travel safer and more efficient at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The TSA introduced four new “innovation lanes” in Terminal 1 last week, the Star Tribune reported .

The $2.1 million system focuses on luggage and doesn’t involve body screening. Travelers place their luggage into large bins, which are then screened by X-ray equipment. Bags that need further screening are automatically diverted to a different conveyer belt. Once luggage is collected, the bins are then automatically returned to the beginning of the security line.

The system will automate functions that personnel previously had to carry out, said Lorie Dankers, spokeswoman for the TSA.

Bob and Rita Sundberg of Brainerd recently traveled to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Rita Sundberg said the new system was a little confusing, but not too difficult to navigate.

Dankers said there is always a learning curve when introducing a new system.

Passengers still will need to remove liquids and laptops from carry-on luggage when going through security. Those traveling with bulky items, such as car seats or strollers, will need to use the older screening method. Travelers with TSA Precheck or Clear status won’t be affected because they use separate lines.

The TSA employs more than 650 full-time employees at the airport and doesn’t plan to cut jobs as a result of the automation.

According to the agency, nearly 12 million people are screened at the airport annually. About 92 percent of travelers make it through security at the airport in less than 15 minutes, agency officials said.

The facility is the seventh airport in the U.S. to receive the new lanes as part of a national rollout.


Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com