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New Security Scanners Active in Louisville International Airport

Passengers at the Louisville International Airport may be the first to pass through new security scanners that were activated over the weekend.

Both Louisville and Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport are the latest to receive the new body scanners, which around 140 airports already have in place. When passengers pass through the scanners, they’ll be able to see a generic outline of a human body, not like other scanners that show more detailed and individualized body images, said Jim Fotenos, Transportation Security Administration spokesman.

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Louisville, Lexington Airports Install New Security Scanners Soon

The Transportation Security Administration is installing new security scanners at several airports around the country in the upcoming weeks including the Louisville and Lexington airports.

Nearly 140 airports have already made the switch to one of two scanner types in the last few years. Both devices scan the entire body but only one displays a complete image of passengers’ bodies, said TSA spokesman Jim Fotenofs.

The scanners being installed in Louisville and Lexington will display the same body image for every passenger, which should eliminate privacy concerns from travelers, said Fotenofs.

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Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky and Indianapolis Airports Join TSA Quick-Screen Program

The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky and Indianapolis airports are joining the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) new PreCheck program.

Eligible fliers on American and Delta and certain members of Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Traveler programs will have the chance to move more quickly through security screening by registering ahead of time with the TSA and its member airlines, which will include U.S. Airways, United and Alaskan airlines later this year, said TSA spokesman Jim Fotenofs.

“That expedited screening could include leaving your shoes on, your belts on, your jackets on, your laptops in your bags and your limited quantity liquids would no longer have to come out,” he said.

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New Scanners Coming to Louisville Airport

Louisville is slated to receive new airport passenger scanning equipment.

The Transportation Security Administration will send 300 of the $150,000 Advanced Imaging Technology machines to 16 cities.

The devices are full body scanners, but are different from the controversial backscatter machines that project an image of passengers’ bodies onto a screen for TSA officials to review. Rather, the AITs show an outline of a human form and identify any potential threats.

From Business First:

“The deployment of this technology further strengthens security while also enhancing passenger privacy,” TSA assistant administrator of security capabilities Robin Kane said in a news release. “The ability to safely detect non-metallic threats concealed under layers of clothing provides TSA officers with an invaluable resource.”

The TSA will pay for the machines, but hasn’t yet announced when the devices will be installed or how many will go to each city.

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Local News

Storm Delays In Other Cities Hold Flights At Louisville Airport

Several flights at the Louisville International Airport have been delayed or cancelled due to winter weather. (Click here to see cancellations and delays)

The storm moving across the country is causing cancellations at many airports in the midwest, and flights in and out of Louisville have been delayed due to problems in other cities.

Louisville is not an air hub, and airport spokesperson Trish Burke says that greatly reduces any local difficulties. Burke says some passengers will be stranded in Louisville, but the delays won’t put much extra burden on airport workers.

“Our role becomes much more of communication and trying to help the passengers communicate with the airlines and their families,” she says.

Burke says the airlines handle most of the issues surrounding delays at other airports. If flights are cancelled or delayed, Burke says the airport will adjust its hours to serve travelers.

Graham Shelby contributed to this report.

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Local News Politics

Airport Terminal Named For Abramson

In a ceremony Wednesday, the Louisville Regional Airport Authority dedicated the passenger terminal at the airport to Mayor Jerry E. Abramson.

Authority members noted Abramson’s work on the $800 million airport expansion in the 1980s. Board chair Phil Lynch said the project could have cost Abramson his career.

“A young dynamic mayor is in his first term as mayor of Louisville facing re-election the next year and he’s presented with a project that ultimately would result in thousands of people having to be moved from their homes and relocated, hundreds of businesses being relocated many schools and to name a few churches,” he says.

The project resulted in UPS establishing its Worldport hub at the airport, which Lynch says led to more than 140 businesses locating to Louisville.

The mayor said he was humbled by the recognition. A bronze plaque with Abramson’s likeness will be installed near the bottom of the escalators by the end of January.

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Airline Manager Says New Flights Selling Well

Vision Airlines officials say so far, their new service in Louisville appears to be sustainable.

Vision has flown charter flights out of Louisville International Airport for years, but they have only recently begun a twice-daily service to Atlanta. Director of sales Clay Meek says advance ticket sales have met expectations.

“We’d like to see the planes run at 75%, which is about 25 people-per flight,” he says. “And we’ve been coming close to those numbers, depending on the days. But as we go forward, it looks to be a very successful launch so far.”

Meek says if the service becomes more successful, Vision offer more services or larger planes in Louisville.

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Local News

Vision Airlines To Offer Direct Flights To Atlanta

Starting in December, a relatively new airline will offer direct flights from Louisville to Atlanta.

Vision Airlines has flown charter planes out of Louisville and other cities for years, but will begin offering commercial flights in two months. Director of sales Clay Meek says the first flights will be on 32-passenger planes, but that could change.

“Eventually…the 737 could be brought into the market depending on how that flows and how it’s received by the community and also depending on what other cities we might want to look at out of Louisville,” he says.

The Louisville to Atlanta service is Vision’s first ticketed flight service outside of the southwest.

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Airport Receives Grant For Relocations, Improvements

by Gabe Bullard

A 9.3 million dollar grant from the Federal Aviation Administration is coming to Louisville.

More than half of the grant will go toward Louisville International Airport’s continuous relocation program for residents affected by noise following the airport’s expansion. The rest of the money will go toward upgrades at the airport, among them, a taxiway that will accommodate larger cargo and passenger aircraft. Airport authority chairman Phil Lynch says the grant will also be used to replace aging snow removal equipment.

“Anybody that had to sit here in the airport during the February storm and deal with the delays that occurred naturally because of snow removal will appreciate the fact that we’re going to be able to replace existing snowblowers with equipment that’s going to be more efficient,” he says.

The airport regularly receives funds for the relocation program, but the rest of the money came from a competitive grant. It was steered toward Louisville with help from Congressman John Yarmuth.

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Airport Authority Says 2009 Was a Tough Year

2009 was a tough year for many businesses and families, and it was no different for the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, which runs Louisville International Airport and Bowman Field. Executive Director Skip Miller says the economy has forced everyone to tweak budgets.

“We deferred and reduced our capital major maintenance budgets for 2010 by over 15-million dollars and in addition to that, we’re reduced our operating budget by an additional million dollars, all in an effort to match up our revenue stream with our expense stream and we’re staying right on target with that budget with six months now under our belt,” says Miller.

He says availability of seats traveling out of Louisville went down in 2009, but so did fares.

The airline industry as a whole suffered a net loss in North America of nearly three-million dollars in 2009. In 2010, the North American market is expected to suffer a two-billion dollar net loss.