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TSA brings body scanners to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport

MESA, Ariz. – Body scanners have arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

Advanced Imaging Technology is now being used to screen passengers there. The TSA’s Nico Melendez said the scanners will help to protect passengers from the latest threats.

“The latest threats are explosives which metal detectors have traditionally not been able to find,” Melendez said. “By introducing these to Mesa Gateway, it’s a demonstration that airports, no matter how big or how small, are important to the entire transportation system.”

The “backscatter” technology has been in use at the airport for a few days now. It uses x-ray beams to create a reflection of your body, then displays it on a monitor. A TSA screener then looks at the image to see if there are any signs of a weapon.

Melendez said privacy concerns with the technology have been addressed.

“We have a separate resolution room,” Melendez said. “Our security officer who is viewing the image has no interaction with the passenger who is being screened. Our technology doesn’t retain the image, and can’t print or transmit it. We think we’ve taken all of the steps necessary.”

If something turns up questionable on the image, the passenger goes through additional screening.

The technology is already in use at more than 190 airports nationwide, including Sky Harbor.