Photo from the Metropolitan Airports Commission: An automated security lane in Atlanta.

Passengers flying out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport could soon pass through security checkpoints a whole lot faster.

New automated security lanes that have moved passengers and carry-on luggage through the screening process up to 40 percent faster at other airports could be in place at MSP by summer. This week, a Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) committee approved spending $1.6 million for four “innovation lanes.” The full commission will vote on the plan at its Feb. 21 meeting, said spokesman Patrick Hogan.

Four lanes would be installed in the south security checkpoint in Terminal 1, with additional lanes added over the next two years, the commission said.

Delta Air Lines, the dominant carrier at the airport, requested that the lanes be added to the south security checkpoint before the start of the 2017 summer schedule, according to a memo from Airport Development Director Bridget Rief to the MAC Planning, Development and Environment Committee.

The system approved by the Transportation Security Administration allows up to five passengers to place their bags on a conveyor belt, allowing travelers with fewer items to move through metal-detectors or full-body scanners more quickly. Each station has a bin dispenser so travelers can fill bins without waiting as long for a spot. The loaded bins then move on roller belts into X-ray inspection, as passengers head to their own screening.

Bins and luggage that require more screening are separated out, allowing other luggage to move through the system uninterrupted.

Automated security lanes debuted last spring at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Since then, innovation lanes have been installed in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, along with Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, Newark, N.J., and Phoenix.

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768

 

Photo: Innovation lanes at Chicago's O'Hare Airport

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