All incoming air cargo passed through radiation detectors as the agency implements laws designed to avert what the 9/11 Commission’s final report called a major security vulnerability – cargo on airplanes as a potential avenue for terrorism.
In the test at Dulles, every piece will be scanned, but the emphasis is on international cargo, DHS said.
By the end of the year, four more airports will be equipped with Radiation Portal Monitors, at a cost of US$450,000 each, installed. DHS plans eventually to install the detectors at 30 of the nation’s largest airports.
Meanwhile, Lufthansa Cargo said it would install explosive trace detection systems at all Lufthansa destinations in the US by the end of September.
That puts the German carrier well ahead of congressionally mandated inspection requirements which state that by February 2009, half of all cargo transported on passenger planes must be screened. A full 100 per cent of cargo must be checked by August 2010.
Harald Zielinski, Lufthansa Cargo’s security chief, said the carrier is investing “single-digit million euros” in the systems, which will be able to detect various types of explosives concealed within shipments.
Lufthansa serves US destinations, including: New York, Newark, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Detroit; Charlotte, Orlando, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon.
In addition, Lufthansa said it has transformed its bases in Chicago and Los Angeles into “security hubs,” by installing physical access barriers, comprehensive video surveillance, explosive detection equipment, and by using biometric checks and security guard patrols. Lufthansa Cargo has already converted its bases in Frankfurt, Munich, New York and Shanghai into security hubs.