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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Safer Air Travel Could Take Wing on GE Devices

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Times Union (Albany, NY) (KRT)
via NewsEdge Corporation

Jan. 25--NISKAYUNA -- For airline passengers, General Electric Co.'s new security systems could mean clearing the checkpoint in 20 seconds, without having to remove their shoes.

For airlines and airport officials, the new systems could mean enhanced security and safety for the traveling public.

GE's Global Research Center on Tuesday showed off some of the tools it has developed to detect explosives, weapons and other threats to the traveling public. The occasion was a visit to the River Road center by Charles McQueary, the undersecretary for science and technology at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Joining him was Rep. John Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, who serves on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, the panel that presumably would have to find the money in the federal budget to buy all the new technology.

One of the systems -- GE's EntryScan -- is already in use at airports in the United States and in high-risk locations here and overseas. The unit is nicknamed the "puffer" because it hits individuals with a gentle puff of air as they pass through. That air is then quickly analyzed for traces of explosives and in some cases, narcotics.

The units, which retail for a bit more than $100,000 each, are already in use at 28 or 29 airports domestically. Two of the devices will be installed at Albany International Airport this spring, said airport spokesman Doug Myers.

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