SFO to pre-order 11 explosive-detecting baggage scanners

The Associated Press
Wednesday January 23, 2002

SAN BRUNO — San Francisco International Airport is trying to secure explosive-detecting luggage scanners before an ordering rush from other airports. 

Airport commissioners on Tuesday agreed to pay $19.3 million for 11 new scanners, an expenditure the airport’s board of supervisors must also approve. 

“There will be a tremendous demand for these units,” airport spokesman Ron Wilson said. “We want to get ourselves in line.” 

Though the airport already has 13 such scanners, it will need 60 more by Dec. 31 to meet new federal deadlines to look for bombs in all luggage. 

The airport plans to order the scanners from Newark, Calif.-based InVision Technologies Inc., one of two manufacturers approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Wilson said the airport will have to spend several million dollars more to create space to house the mini van-sized scanners. 

He said the purchase is contingent on federal reimbursement and that the FAA has agreed verbally to reimburse the airport for the costs of the machines. 

San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown said Tuesday he spoke with Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, a fellow Californian, who “looked with favor” on the reimbursement request. 

“We’re willing to pay the $19 million up front provided we know ... they will reimburse us,” said Brown, who was in Washington for the Conference of Mayors meeting.