American Airlines has reached an agreement with technology firm Analogic to buy $6 million worth of computed tomography (CT) airport checkpoint screening machines that the carrier hopes to deploy at US airports later this year following US government certification of the equipment.

The purchase agreement between Dallas/Fort Worth-based American and Boston-based Analogic comes shortly after American and the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced they were jointly testing CT machines at an airport checkpoint in Phoenix. CT machines are already used to scan checked bags and are considered much more likely to detect hidden explosives and other threats—one reason why the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has required passengers traveling from select airports to place large personal electronic devices in checked baggage.

The Phoenix trials are being conducted using CT equipment produced by L3 Technologies.

Analogic said American has become the official launch customer of its ConneCT machines, which borrow sophisticated scanning technology from the medical field to provide clear, 3-D images of a bag’s contents. ConneCT machines are currently undergoing TSA certification testing. Once the technology gains certification, the machines can be deployed at US airport checkpoints, American and Analogic said.

“3-D CT technology could make it possible to allow passengers to leave liquids, gels and aerosols, as well as laptops, in their carry-on bags at all times,” Analogic said in a statement. “This results in a quicker throughput and less bin use.”

American SVP-customer experience Kerry Philipovitch said the carrier is “always looking at ways to invest in technology that enhances global aviation security while improving the customer experience,” adding, “We believe strongly in risk-based, intelligence-driven security protocols, which enable the aviation industry to identify, manage and mitigate risk. Our partnerships with the TSA and Analogic will transform aviation security by bringing state-of-the-art CT technology to the security checkpoint.”

Aaron Karp aaron.karp@penton.com