The use of remote check-in options, home-printed or permanent bag tags should be encouraged as a means of ensuring landside security at airports, says Michael Herrero in an exclusive interview with Via Dubai.
Excerpts from the interview:
What are the new measures airports should adopt to ensure security to passengers and assets?
Security checkpoint perspective
As the primary threat to aviation has shifted from metallic items, such as guns and knives, to non-metallic items, such as solid and liquid explosives, future security checkpoints should integrate advanced detection technologies within them.
The perfect scanner should address the threat of explosives and other non-metallic threats in a single process while better respecting the privacy of passengers through using anonymized images and advanced detection capabilities, reducing the need of full body pat-downs. A new generation of X-ray systems (CT X-ray; X-ray Diffraction) is coming to market that will dramatically improve the cabin baggage screening process while at the same time enable more items to be left in passengers’ bags without divesting. This technology will not only greatly assist human screeners but will also allow for automated detection of explosives and other threats.
In addition,to balance the effective use of resources, risk-based differentiated screening of passengers should be applied at the checkpoint. This will ensure that some passengers will benefit from an expedited screening experience, while others will be selected for enhanced screening. Risk assessment may be achieved through behavior analysis and questioning techniques, ticket purchase characteristics or the flight routing.
Per passenger, pre-screening analysis may also help to categorize passengers according to risk, either through the use of passenger data, or through membership in a known traveler program. A combination of the most appropriate methods for the risk and regulatory environments can greatly contribute to the sustainability of the entire security system.
Landside security perspective
There are a number of measures that can be taken to improve landside security based on reducing crowds and queues.
Processes should be moved off-airport where possible. For instance, the use of remote check-in options (internet, mobile), home-printed or permanent bag tags, etc. should be encouraged. Where possible separate flows should be established, for instance those passengers who arrive at the airport ready to fly (checked-in, cabin baggage only) should be provided with an alternative route or separate entrance to the security checkpoint without having to walk through the check-in/bag drop area.
Queues should be reduced at check-in, bag drop, security checkpoint etc. through process optimization and appropriate staffing levels. And,decentralized and physically separated screening checkpoints for avoiding crowed waiting spots and offer resilience operational options in case of attacks or bomb threatsshould be promoted.
Dubai International Airport is expected to handle 103 million passengers by 2020. What are the accompanying challenges to security with this growing numbers?
A significant increase in passenger numbers needs to be accompanied by an increase insecurity checkpoint capacity, not only by adding more lanes and more staff, but by working in a smarter way. Solutions are now available that can help to dramatically increase the capacity of the checkpoint and optimize staff productivity, asset utilization and space utilization to cope with growing passenger numbers.
Automation: automatic document scanning, tray handling systems, and flow control gates can optimize staff utilization and therefore reduce operating costs.
Configuration: Innovative lane layouts, such as parallel divestment stations or tray loading solutions, can improve throughput and operational efficiency, as well as deliver an improved passenger and staff experience.
Centralized Image Processing: This allows X-ray machines to be networked to provide airports with an enhanced ability to ensure the X-ray machine and the X-ray operators viewing the images are working to their full capacity. It makes cabin baggage screening more efficient and cost effective.
Risk-based: Integrating lanes with supporting technologies, such as radio frequency identification (RFID) trays and biometrics can enable seamless differentiated screening without the need for dedicated lanes for each passenger type.
As most of the traffic will be transfer, the same smarter solutions should apply to transfer checkpoints with risk-based differentiated screening based on points of origin and more randomness and unpredictable selection patterns according to the risks associated to transfer passengers.
From a landside security perspective the risk will become even bigger as passenger numbers soar, so airports really need to optimize the landside process to avoid crowds and queues where possible.
What are the technological advances that can ensure security, ease and speed of movement?
From a security checkpoint perspective, security scanners will not only improve security outcomes, but will also reduce the need for full-body pat downs.Next generation X-ray equipment will allow for highly effective threat detection while reducing the need to remove electronics and liquids from the bag.
And next generation shoe scanners will allow for quick detection of metallic and non-metallic threats in shoes without the passenger having to take them off. We expect that, eventually, this type of technology, and other technologies, could be integrated into the security scanner footprint turning it into a “many-in-one” device that thoroughly screens the passenger in a single, convenient process step.
What are the ideal ‘future’ technologies that should be adopted now by airports?
From a security checkpoint perspective, security scannersthat address the threat of explosives and other non-metallic threats in a single process while better respecting the privacy of passengers, next generation X-ray (CT X-ray and X-ray Diffraction to name the two most promising ones) machines, next generation shoe scanners should be adopted by airports. In addition lane infrastructure should be set up to allow for seamless differentiated screening without the need for dedicated lanes for each passenger type.
What are the measures to simplify security checks at airports?
As already covered under previous questions, new screening technologies will not only improve security outcomes but will also help to make the screening process faster and more passenger-friendly.
Security scanners: will reduce the need for full-body pat downs (i.e. will allow for partial/targeted pat-downs).
Next generation X-ray equipment: will eliminate the need to remove electronics and liquids from the bag.
Next generation shoe scanners: will allow for quick detection of metallic and non-metallic threats in shoes without the passenger having to take shoes off.
Adjustment of the lists of prohibited items to the current threats for improving security screening processes and reducing unnecessary burden, thus delays, on passengers.