BANGOR, Maine — Fresh off the official announcement of a $4.9 million grant to improve its commercial jet apron infrastructure, Bangor International Airport received word Thursday that it has secured another $4 million in federal funds for a new baggage inspection system.
The Transportation Security Administration grant will allow BIA to upgrade its baggage inspection system to a more efficient, unified, in-line system linked to the TSA’s screening stations.
“This has been in the works a little over a year through the TSA and Senator [Susan] Collins’ office,” said Tony Caruso, BIA’s interim director. “What this will do is increase the TSA’s utilization and efficiency here at the terminal.
“What we have here now is multiple independent baggage systems, and TSA has their equipment in just one location, which means check-in agents have to manually take things over to their system from wherever they are.”
BIA will begin installing the new system, which uses an assembly-line approach, this summer and it could be completed by the end of the year. It will be a dedicated system linking all baggage check-in systems to the two TSA Checked Baggage Inspection System scanning stations.
“After this is done, all the TSA equipment and a backup will be in one location,” Caruso said. “Right now it’s still preliminary and in the conceptual design stage, but our engineering people and the TSA will design a system for use here in Bangor.”
Initial design plans call for the new system to be fully automated and located behind a wall, as opposed to the open screening location now in the lobby.
Caruso hopes to implement the new luggage system along with improvements to the BIA’s ground-floor terminal and check-in area. BIA will pay for those improvements with funds generated by a new passenger facility charge, which passengers going through BIA have been assessed since the beginning of this year.
“Again, this is another project done to improve our efficiency,” Caruso said. “We’ll have more space for passenger check-in, relocate car rentals to the south end of the terminal, upgrade our elevator and escalators, add an elevator, and upgrade existing entrances and exits.”
The project also will consolidate airline check-in and operations areas by grouping them all in the same general location on the first floor.