The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is launching a one-year pilot programme to allow companies to place advertisements in bins at passenger screening checkpoints at “select” US airports in return for equipment donations.

The effort follows a 3-month test programme at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) security checkpoints that started in July.

TSA is looking for commercial advertising companies who will team with an airport to provide divestiture bins (the plastic bins used to transport passenger carry-on items through the X-ray machine); divestiture and composure tables; and bin return carts free-of-charge to the TSA. In return, the companies will be allowed to place airport-approved ads “on the bottom of the inside of the bins,” says a TSA spokeswoman. Airports partnered with ad companies will ultimately be required to screen the materials for “offensive, obtrusive, political or controversial” content, she adds.

For the 3-month LAX test, TSA says the vendor, SecurityPoint Media, spent $250,000 for 3,000 bins with Rolodex ads attached to the bottom (pictured below), 288 return carts (a base made from PVC pipe with rollers on the bottom) and 190 stainless steel tables.

Xray tray bin W445

As an added bonus, TSA says the bin return carts – used to transfer bins from downstream of the X-ray machines back to the front of the line – have cut its on-the-job injuries at LAX security checkpoints by 90%. In addition, the agency says divestiture and composure times had decreased since the test programme started.

Proposals by airports teamed with advertising companies are due to the TSA by 16 February