Syracuse, N.Y. — Syracuse Hancock International Airport said goodbye on Friday its much-maligned, futuristic-looking exit tubes, unveiling new high-tech portals that officials promise will not hold up travelers leaving the terminal.
The new portals use sensors that monitor travelers walking through three sets of doors that open automatically as people exit the airport’s two arrival terminals. If anyone tries to enter from the unsecured part of the airport or turns around and walks back toward the secure side of the terminal while exiting, an alarm will sound in the airport’s security office and the exit doors will close.
No one will be trapped between the doors in such an event. The doors will open again to allow people to walk out in the right direction. There will be three of the exit portals at each terminal.
Airport Director Jason Terreri said the new portals cost $1.5 million. The airport is paying for them by using part of a $13 million federal grant from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act.
The new portals were put into use Friday in Terminal B. Their installation in Terminal A will be completed by Thanksgiving, Terreri said.
The old portals were installed just eight years ago and consisted of round glass tubes with a system of sensors that allowed passengers to exit the airport’s two gate areas without allowing people who have not passed through a security checkpoint to enter.
Only three people at a time could enter the tubes. Once inside, a door would close behind them and a door in front of them would open, allowing them to step out.
The tubes often caused a delay for travelers trying to leave the airport, sometimes causing major backups as people waited to enter the tubes.
“One of the biggest complaints we got was the exit portals,” Terreri said. “We knew we had to fix the exit lane technology.”