Scanning technologies on track to streamline airport check-in

As an early adopter of new technologies, the aviation industry has always been at the forefront of technological changes. New security equipment and technologies are beginning to reconcile passengers’ demand for a seamless journey with the increasing need for effective security at airports.

During 2019, Computed Tomography (CT) technology is being trialled at Melbourne, Adelaide, and Gold Coast Airports. This technology will enhance threat-detection capabilities for carry-on bags. Unlike the existing 2-D scanning equipment, CT technology creates a 3-D image of bags’ content that can be rotated 360 degrees for a thorough analysis. This means that passengers will no longer be required to remove laptops, electronic devices, liquids or gels from their bags at security checkpoints. A complementary pilot is testing an automatic tray-handling system that will speed up passenger screening time and reduce the manual handling of trays by security staff. These technologies will considerably alleviate the hassle of unpacking and repacking bags, a major cause of congestion at screening points.

Another trial at Brisbane airport involves facial recognition technology. This has yielded a 70 per cent reduction in boarding and check-in processing times. Self-service check-in kiosks use passengers’ biometrics and their travel documents to create unique tokens for each passenger. When boarding the plane, passengers simply pass through a smart gate that uses the facial recognition technology to verify that the correct passenger is boarding the correct plane without the need for manual handling of boarding passes, passports, or other documents.

With global aviation forecasts of seven billion passengers using airports by 2035, this is the right time for testing these technologies. Smart gates, facial recognition biometrics and CT scanning equipment have proved useful in improving operational efficiency, saving time, and enhancing customer experience to have a seamless airport experience.

The Aviation Industry Reference Committee (IRC) has identified the need for new training to ensure security and screening staff will have the skills to use the new equipment, detect threats, and comply with new security and safety requirements and regulations.

Australian Industry Standards has therefore included a new project in the 2019 Aviation IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work to enhance the vocational skills and professionalisation pathways for transport security protection roles and security screening occupations. The project seeks to incorporate new technological skills related to 3D scanning and ensure continued compliance with aviation transport security regulatory requirements.