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Airports Warned Over Screening Problem:

Posted By: Jim Thatcher

By KRISTIN M. HALL, Associated Press Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - U.S. airports were warned about possible screening equipment problems Friday after a software glitch knocked out the computerized X-ray machines at Nashville International Airport for five hours.

"The situation has reverberated across the nation," said David Beecroft, who oversees security operations at the airport for the federal Transportation Security Administration.

All international airports in the country were alerted because the company that supplies the computer software for the Smiths Heimann X-ray detectors at Nashville also serves several other airports, Beecroft said.

Smiths Detection, the New Jersey-based division of Smiths Heimann, didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.

None of the X-ray machines at the Nashville airport's two screening checkpoints were operating when security operations were scheduled to open for the day at 3:30 a.m., Beecroft said.

"All indications are it was an isolated event," Washington-based TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe said.

TSA employees searched bags by hand to screen passengers in Nashville while the system was down.

Lines of hundreds of passengers snaked outside the terminal and into the parking areas because of the delays. About 9,000 to 11,000 people use the airport every day, but airport spokeswoman Lynne Lowrance said air traffic Friday was expected to be heavier than usual with families traveling for spring break.

Many people were missing flights because some planes waited only 15-20 minutes before leaving the gate, Lowrance said.

"We did delay some of our flights out this morning in an effort to get as many people on their flights as possible. Some flights left as much as 45 minutes late," Marilee McInnis, spokeswoman for Southwest Airlines said.

Southwest is the Nashville airport's biggest carrier, and McInnis said the delays would affect flights in other cities Friday.

American Airlines reported flight delays of 26 minutes to an hour for four flights, spokesman Tim Wagner said.


Courtesy Of: Yahoo! News

The information reported above is property of Yahoo! inc. and reprinted or modified with legitimate permission. We thank Yahoo! inc. for the kind cooperation with us and other shareholders.


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