RDU adding extra security lines in move to offset increase in travelers


MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Long lines at security checkpoints, especially during peak flying times, have become more problematic at Raleigh-Durham International Airport as more people have been moving to the area.

RDU and the Transportation Security Administration are taking steps to keep travelers safe while keeping the lines moving.

The TSA considers explosives to be the greatest threat to the aviation system, whether it’s stuffed in luggage or brought on board an aircraft by a terrorist. The TSA uses explosive-sniffing dogs to make sure that doesn’t happen.

The explosive sniffing dog, Beli, and her handler, Todd Voorhis, are one of the teams which work the security checkpoint at RDU’s Terminal 2. The checkpoint is getting more congested with travelers every day.

Passengers like April Johnson have become frustrated with the wait times and lines.

“I noticed they are very long,” she said. “Sometimes they’re out to two hours.”

The issue hasn’t escaped the attention of the airport authority.

“It’s become very challenging for our customers because the queue line was coming out of the checkpoint and starting to wrap around the building,” said airport authority president Michael Landguth in May when the airport added two additional security lines to the 10 that already existed.

But, the additional checkpoint stations aren’t enough because RDU continues to see more people as a result of the area’s growth.

The airport has seen a 40-percent increase in passengers at Terminal 2 in the last five years and has hosted nearly 13 million passengers in 2018.

Now the airport is taking over the area which used to house the Panopolis restaurant to add two more security checkpoints.

The TSA has also added more than 30 new agents to add to their security operation. The front line of that security is K-9 explosive direction teams.

“We work the crowd, usually in the queue line,” said Voorhis. “It’s a bit of a dance to get the passengers to line up. You have to have a lot of patience.”

As the crowds at the airport increase, the number of TSA K-9 teams will also increase to help keep passengers moving in what will ultimately be 14 security checkpoint stations at RDU.

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