Excellent progress has been made in establishing Smart Security principles at airports worldwide.
Increased automation and connectivity, optimized processes, and new lane configurations to improve divestment are increasingly being implemented.
This first wave of operational enhancements is now transitioning to a new generation of development focused on automated detection and additional decision support for improved threat detection.
Now, with explosive detection systems (EDS), human interaction is being supported by advanced algorithms
The screening of cabin baggage illustrates this evolution of Smart Security principles.
The traditional process relies on conventional x-ray technology and visual recognition for detection of prohibited items.
Now, with explosive detection systems (EDS), human interaction is being supported by advanced algorithms.
Although EDS technology to automatically detect explosives has existed for a decade or so, only recently has its operational viability improved. In addition, new technologies such as CT (Computed Tomography) that generate 3D images provide security officers a wider range of tools to detect non-explosive threats.
Automated EDS offers the promise of more effective screening with a better passenger experience
Detection standards exist to ensure the technology is up to scratch. In the EU, equipment that meets the C1 standard still requires electronics and liquids to be taken out of a bag.
Equipment meeting the C2 standard is significant to allow electronics to be left in the bag although liquids must still be taken out. C3 means both electronics and liquids can remain in the bag.
One equipment manufacturer has achieved the C3 detection standard although, of course, that does not mean this piece of equipment is suitable for deployment in all airports. It will first need to be trialled in a live environment to see how it performs operationally.
“We are working with all these developments,” says Guido Peetermans, IATA’s Head, Passenger Security.
“While significant advancements have been made, new detection technology is just one piece of the puzzle. We still have to find ways to put it together with other elements of the checkpoint to optimize operations.
"Automated EDS offers the promise of more effective screening with a better passenger experience.
"It’s not 100% there yet but it’s getting closer and that is really exciting.”