Airports to move to “invisible” passenger screening

The rise of automated technologies, biometric data collection and the pre-screening of passengers will lead to unobtrusive, “invisible” passenger screening at airports in the future, a new report has predicted.

According to the new ‘Global Airport Passenger Screening Market’ by Frost & Sullivan, new technologies and processes will “reduce the physical interaction with travellers” at airport security areas. These will include portal scanners, biometric collection devices, and pre-clearance based on background investigations, and will “transform the passenger screening process”, according to the report.

A full-body scanner at Moscow Airport (photo by mariakraynova)
A full-body scanner at Moscow Airport (photo by mariakraynova)

As a result, global spending on passenger screening technologies, which stood at US$1.42 billion in 2014, is expected to reach US$1.63 billion in 2020.

“To deal with the escalating passenger traffic, airports need to implement swifter and more efficient methods of passenger screening,” said Frost & Sullivan’s senior industry analyst for aerospace & defence, John Hernandez. “One solution could be to supply passengers with alternate venues and automated tools to pre-screen them before they arrive at the airport.”

The report states that identifying high-risk passengers prior to their arrival at the airport is a key element in improving security. But for a more thorough system, airports are looking for innovative technologies capable of screening large numbers of passengers quickly and accurately.

Additionally, scanners than can detect non-metallic improvised explosive devices will be “imperative”, the report states.

But Frost & Sullivan cautioned that passenger screening technology “is only as efficient as those operating it”, and that accelerating the passenger screening process has been “met with resistance from officials”.

“Airports already employ automated systems such as automated passport control kiosks and automated border control, eGates, for international travel,” observed Hernandez. “The next step is to transition automated passenger screening to airport checkpoints. Equipment maintenance and recurring training will be critical selling points to agencies responsible for procurement.”

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