Manchester Airport first in Europe to replace hand searching with body scanners

May 13th, 2010 - 7:01 pm ICT by BNO News  

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND (BNO NEWS) — Manchester Airport will become the first airport in Europe to replace hand searching with body scanners, the airport said on Thursday, after receiving approval from the European Commission.

The body scanners will be used - effective immediately - in Terminal 2 and will replace hand searching as part of the security process. The airport conducted a trial of a body scanners that began in October 2009 and became a compulsory part of secondary security screening in February.

“The airport is aiming to demonstrate to customers that they can keep their coats, jackets and shoes thus improving their journey through the security process,” the airport said, saying the scanners will be deployed as part of a 12-month trial.

The airport has been trialling a new ‘SMART lane’ layout and the body scanners are expected to improve the flow rate and ensure passenger experience is reinforced. The scanners will not be installed in Terminals 1 and 3, as was originally announced, until the results of the new trial in Terminal 2 are ascertained.

Body scanners are already in place at Heathrow Airport in London and other British airports are bringing them online throughout the year. Since February, new security rules on body scanners made it mandatory for any passengers who are selected for a scan to participate. Any refusal to be body scanned results in passengers not being allowed to travel.

The model used at Manchester is the Secure 1000 Single Pose, which has already been approved by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and is currently being deployed at airports in the U.S. The Secure 1000 uses advanced x-ray backscatter technology and image processing software to detect potential threats on passengers at aviation checkpoints. The Secure 1000 Single Pose is designed to help security teams detect potential threat objects concealed on passengers.

“The decision gives us an opportunity to improve our security procedure for the benefit of our customers which is exactly why we began using the scanner back in October,” said Sarah Barrett, Head of Customer Experience at Manchester Airport. “So far over 40,000 people have been through the scanner and it’s becoming another vital part of the security procedure here at Manchester. We have continued to reiterate that the image generated cannot be stored or captured nor can security officers viewing the images recognize people. The decision from the European Commission means that we can use the scanners as we originally envisaged to quicken the process for our customers.”

Manchester Airport will be providing passengers traveling through the terminals with detailed information about the introduction of body scanners.

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