Repairs made at Albert J. Ellis after outage causes TSA to hand-checks bags

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 7:10 PM EDT
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RICHLANDS, N.C. (WITN) - A new computer board arrived at Albert J. Elllis Airport in Onslow County around 5:00 pm, and final repairs were made just before 6:00 p.m. allowing regular baggage checks to resume.

Prior to that several flights were delayed and passengers flights rescheduled due to TSA baggage x-ray system outages.

Airport officials said they noticed the outage around 4:00 a.m. Friday morning when they opened and had to hand check each passenger’s bag before allowing them to wait at respective gates. Hand checking bags caused some passengers to miss flights.

“The airlines re-accommodated them; put them on a later flight, booked them through on space availability. The airlines delayed some of the flights to let more people pass through the security checkpoint. As we know electronics can fail and they usually fail at the most inopportune times,” said Airport Director Chris White.

With COVID-19 beginning to become a growing concern as the Delta variant becomes more aggressive, White calls it " A major concern” that the terminals were becoming more crowded.

“It does because if people need to socially distance like they still should then it creates some challenges with the hand searching of the bags,” said White.

Passengers like Robert Lemmons, who is in the Marine Corps, says he is glad problems are getting resolved and he didn’t have to spend any of his vacation time waiting on a rescheduled flight.

“I would be kind of upset because you get two and a half leave days a month for every month that you’re in the Marine Corp. I would be really upset if I had to waste one or two of those days that I’m only allowed so many a year to stay at an airport,” said Lemmons.

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