JWA to use full-body scanners

The Transportation Security Administration plans to install full-body scanners at John Wayne Airport in the coming months, federal officials confirmed Tuesday.

Scanners are planned for all three terminals, including the new Terminal C set to open in November.

Travelers randomly selected to undergo the body scans can opt to walk through the traditional metal detectors and receive a manual pat-down instead.

A recent public backlash about the machines’ graphic depictions prompted the TSA to change the images the scanners produce. The millimeter wave machines – the ones that are planned for JWA – now create generic images for all passengers.

The TSA bought 300 new millimeter wave machines in September. JWA will be one of the latest airports to get the devices.

Because the airport is building a new terminal and its existing checkpoints can be converted with relative ease, JWA was “a logical next step,” said TSA spokesman Nico Melendez.

It is hard to determine when the scanners will be ready because of the unpredictable permitting and installation process, Melendez said.

Already, the TSA uses full-body scanners in 78 airports nationwide, including four others in Southern California: Palm Springs, Ontario, San Diego and Los Angeles International.

Twitter: @mreicher