New security measures unveiled at Aldergrove
NEW airport security measures were unveiled at Belfast International Airport over the week.
Non-invasive body scanning has been introduced in response to new regulations by the Department for Transport (DfT).
The equipment will be used alongside existing security processes. The airport said it would make the search process more efficient and less intrusive for passengers.
Belfast International Airport said the technology could detect a wide range of potential threats.
It said equipment safeguards privacy, is safe for passengers and meets the latest DfT requirements for enhanced levels of aviation security.
Passengers will either be randomly selected for scanning or checked upon activation of the normal security tests.
Travellers who set off the metal detector arch to walk into a new body scanner, stand with their feet a yard apart and put their hands in the air.
This impressive-looking piece of kit costs around £200,000 and uses millimetre-wave scanners which bounce radio waves off a passenger’s body.
It will flag up anything which is not part of the subject’s body silhouette, including liquids and drugs hidden under clothing.
Following a full-body scan that takes seconds, a generic, mannequin-style diagram will appear on a computer screen beside the booth, with dots indicating areas which need to be checked out further.
These further checks would then be carried out manually by airport security staff.
The airport said the scanner did not create images of the person being scanned, and the diagram produced was automatically deleted after it was cleared by a security officer.
The technology will not be entirely unfamiliar to people who have travelled through Manchester Airport or London Heathrow recently as both airports have also been trialling the concept.
The scanner being used has been approved by the government and does not pose any risk to health.
John Doran, managing director of Belfast International Airport, said: “Airport security is of paramount importance and we are committed to ensuring the safety and security of the millions of passengers who use Belfast International Airport every year.
“The technology employed by the scanner we are rolling out is designed in such a way that it maintains the aviation security in line with the latest government requirements whilst also maintaining the privacy of the passenger.
“We will be providing travellers with explanatory leaflets containing information on the scanner and the background to its introduction.”
Belfast International Airport security manager Suzanne Blair said the new process will be of particular interest to people with artificial hips or other limbs that find they regularly set off the metal detector, as the new machine will detect what is part of their body and what is outside their body.
Ms Blair said the scanner will be compulsory from this Saturday and that anyone who refuses to go through it will not be able to fly.
“It is much faster than a full-body search, less invasive and quicker,” she added.
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