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Jerome de Chassey, Smith Detection’s vice president for Asia-Pacific considers how smarter checkpoints can improve security efficiency and the passenger experience.

In the face of increasing passenger numbers, new regulations and ever-evolving threats, airports are constantly challenged to maintain operational and security effectiveness whilst striving to improve efficiency and the overall passenger experience.

This demands smarter and more complex checkpoint solutions to deliver on all levels. From the introduction of the first automated baggage sorting systems in the 1990s to recent advances in biometrics, risk-based assessment and, of course, the ‘smart’ checkpoint, technology has transformed the airline industry at an extraordinary pace.

Smiths Detection understands the requirements and challenges of the passenger checkpoint and have gained unrivalled expertise over the last four decades of supplying efficient and effective screening technologies to airports all over the world.

Leveraging our in-depth knowledge, we are focused on developing smart checkpoint solutions to help solve three critical issues faced by airport operators: security, efficiency and the passenger experience.

Our checkpoint solutions deliver the highest levels of security and the most advanced combination of exceptional detection performance; low false alarm rates; and fast belt speeds.

As they are modular in design, our solutions can be tailored to individual requirements and upgraded to meet changing criteria or evolving threats and regulatory requirements – making them a future-proof and cost-effective option.

Productivity, increased throughput and reduced costs all contribute to optimum operational efficiency. Thus, it is insufficient for checkpoint systems to solely provide outstanding security; it must also be flexible enough to support passenger growth and allow airports to operate profitably.

The latest fully-integrated and connected checkpoints can capture data before, during and after the screening process, as well as deliver actionable insights on passenger traffic to support resource deployment decisions.

Creating a smoother, faster process

Airports are constantly looking to create a better passenger experience at security checkpoints by reducing queuing times while improving screening process and passengers’ interaction with staff.

To create a smoother and faster process for passengers, airport operators can turn to some of the latest innovative technologies and designs that can easily handle passenger volumes larger than predicted for peak periods, hence keeping the length of queues under control.

For example, Tokyo’s Narita International Airport relies upon Smiths Detection for cabin baggage and people screening equipment. Similarly, Kansai International Airport and Haneda Airport have also deployed solutions such as the advanced checkpoint lane solution, iLane, as well as the innovative people screening system, eqo, at the checkpoints.

Over 25 million visitors entered Japan last year and this number is expected to rise dramatically with the upcoming Rugby World Cup in 2019 as well as the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic games in 2020. Therefore new technologies are vital to keep passengers moving, however busy the checkpoint is, whilst maintaining the integrity and quality of the security system.

An effective lane with a tray handling system is a primary checkpoint component. By delivering a steady flow of trays, it plays a critical role in ensuring an effective screening process and delivering the subsequent benefits of increased throughput, lower per capita costs, and improved passenger experience.

iLane has been designed to eliminate bottlenecks, keep queues under control and the system moving. This means that operators can expect key advances such as parallel divest, a completely different approach to preparing passengers for the screening process; automatic diversion, which efficiently separates suspicious baggage from the main conveyor; and an automated tray return to eliminate the need to transport trays manually.

The high level of automation leaves operators free to focus on the passengers, getting them ready for screening and keeping the whole process moving. This, in turn, will increase the number of people screened per hour, reduce the screening cost per head and allow passengers to travel quickly through security checkpoints.

People screening is another core checkpoint component. Smiths Detection’s eqo people screening system with automatic detection uses flat panel, millimetre-wave technology to locate concealed threat objects.

Passengers simply hold their arms away from the body whilst completing a turn in front of the scanning panel. The display monitor can be seen by both passenger and operator and, for privacy, uses the same generic outline of a person for every scan. Once the scan is completed, results are presented immediately so people can be cleared in a matter of seconds.

Any potential threats are marked in the appropriate position on the silhouette image allowing for a fast and efficient, directed search – eliminating the need for full body searches, which have been proven to be very unpopular with both passengers and operating staff alike.

What does the future hold for security checkpoints?

The focus will remain on creating an environment where everyone will be checked and screened quickly with minimum inconvenience and within a process which operates at optimum efficiency.

Computed Tomography (CT) scanning is just arriving at the checkpoint and it is expected to offer many benefits and drive automation and efficiency. The development and testing of the next generation of systems incorporating CT is already underway, with risk-based security at the centre of emerging concepts.

Using screening technologies, which focus on aviation’s primary threats combined with the risk assessment of passengers and their travel characteristics, the checkpoint will become yet more flexible.

With risk based concepts, technologies and processes advancing at such an impressive rate, we can look forward to a radical transformation in air travel.


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