91.7 WVXU / Jolene Almendarez / May 4, 2022
Travelers headed through the Greater Cincinnati international airport this spring and summer will see crowd sizes nearly identical to pre-COVID days. Airport officials say that means people should start arriving at the airport at least two hours early, again. But a new piece of technology could help streamline the security experience.
TSA Regional Spokesperson Mark Howell says new, upgraded computed tomography machines will help keep lines moving.
"The screening machines that we're using for computed tomography are very similar to what hospitals used to diagnose folks in the hospital. We just use it for a security function, and that's looking for potential threats inside of a bag," he said. "And what the software and the machines are able to do is take a bag and move it 360 degrees on a swivel and take layers of those images to look for those threats."
That means electronics and liquids can stay inside bags during screenings.
He says that's a security boost and efficiency gain for passengers, which is needed as passenger numbers start returning to pre-pandemic levels. In Kentucky, that starts earlier than other places due to the Flying Pig Marathon and Kentucky Derby weekend bringing in tourists to the area.
"So things are starting to pick up as people are starting to get out, really, for the first time in the last couple of years," Howell said.
CVG Spokesperson Mindy Kershner says the airport is anticipating serving 85-90% of the number of people served in 2019. But the increase in demand is not necessarily being met with the same number of flights as before.
"What I've been encouraging folks to do is to plan ahead with booking your flight for the summer, if you haven't already. Really, that comes down to this increased demand and the fact that some flight capacity hasn't quite returned, yet," she said.
Frontier Airlines and Air Canada are resuming some of their services in May and Delta is offering flights to Paris again, she said.
"So there are still flights coming back, but that demand is so high," Kershner said.
The last two computed tomography machines will be installed at the airport Friday.
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