Six Ways Airports Are Improving Safety

Dakota Murphey

The aviation industry takes airport safety and security very seriously. But this mindset can lead to excessive wait times and significant frustration for travelers. Fortunately, there are many changes in the works, as technology advances aim to make the airport experience smoother and faster. Here are six ways airports are improving their safety measures while becoming easier to use.

1. Powerful body scanners

One safety measure going through the trial stage is a very powerful walk-though passenger scanner that can recognize potential hidden threats without passengers needing to stay still or remove items of clothing. The system was recently tested at Cardiff Airport and has the potential to not only improve security but also speed up the entire passenger security process.

The scanner images people’s body heat and utilizes computer learning to tell the difference between something that is a threat and something that is not without passengers having to stop or stand still.

2. Countering drones

Drones flying around airports (which we’re increasingly seeing) not only cause disruptions but also potentially very serious security risks. An incident at Gatwick Airport in late 2018 showed how much chaos can be caused by a single drone flying near an airport. Unsurprisingly then, aviation authorities are looking at various options to deal with the issue.

The many possibilities include enforcing stricter regulation over the drone industry as a whole or even forcing drones to comply with geo-fencing, where internal GPS stops the drone from entering restricted areas.

3. The introduction of e-passports

E-passports are one of the major large-scale airport security advances in recent years. E-passports (also known as biometric passports) have been rolled out across the UK, with the first one issued way back in 2010. All new British passports are issued in this format, so it certainly appears to be here to stay.

The passports contain a chip that can be scanned by automatic machines at airports around the world. This significantly reduces the amount of work that has to be carried out by airport staff. These passport chips also eliminate the possibility of human error in the process, ensuring that airport security runs not only faster, but safer too.

4. Facial recognition software

Facial recognition software is one of the new security features that many of us are already familiar with. For example, e-passport machines scan your face to establish whether it matches the one in the passport that you present.

However, this process is only in its infancy. A related innovation would enable a person to check in, drop off bags, and even board a flight without needing to show a passport. Instead, the technology scans the passport chip and utilizes facial recognition cameras throughout the airport to verify the person’s identity. The individual passes through security automatically as their face is recognized by scanners.

5. Physical security measures

In the rush to become more technologically advanced, airports must still continue to invest in the proper physical security measures required to keep passengers and staff safe at all times.

“Every project has its own specific requirements that need consideration to achieve the safety and security of the construction personnel and the public,” says security and safety contractors Maltaward. “The industry is required to meet compliance with the strict airport codes of practice.”

6. Terahertz screening

Terahertz screening is another important technology that has the potential to revolutionize the airport industry. British business Thruvision is at the cutting edge of this technology, which works by sensing heat emissions from an individual’s body to visualize hidden objects.

Some have suggested that this could present a health risk; however, Thruvision has argued that the devices do not use artificial illumination, which makes them safe.

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About Dakota Murphey

Dakota Murphey is a tech writer specialising in cybersecurity, working with Redscan on this and a number of other GDPR, MDR, and ethical hacking projects.