InsightsCoping with increasing security requirements

Blog series: Eight challenges at the security checkpoint and how to address them

Airports are facing multiple challenges worldwide. From increasing passenger volume to changing regulations, they must optimise their operations to maintain passenger satisfaction and improve their competitiveness in the market. This series of blogs identifies eight major challenges faced by many airports at the security checkpoint – a critical step in a passenger’s journey.

Part 3: coping with increasing security requirements

Technologies such as automated screening lanes (ASLs) and centralised image processing (CIP) are often associated with increased passenger throughput at the checkpoint, but they can also have a positive impact on security.

Let’s focus on the effects of security requirements in the aviation industry, and how automated and centralised operations can make checkpoints more secure.

A core concern

Security has been a major concern for the aviation industry for many years. Airports, transport authorities and airlines continuously work hard to prevent threats against passengers and aircraft.

These threats have resulted in the implementation of higher security requirements, such as the restriction of liquids from bags at the checkpoint. While ensuring better image analysis through traditional X-ray scanners, these requirements also create bottlenecks and slow down the screening process.

From a security point of view, slow screening and long waiting times can create queues at the checkpoint, which could potentially become soft targets. In many cases, existing solutions have led to a decrease in the quality of inspections at the checkpoint in response to long queues.

Preventing collusion

Lawmakers are also turning their attention to airport employees as a potential insider threat, adding to the complexity of security operations. Mandatory employee screenings, background checks and additional random screenings have been considered as potential deterrents. However, none of these measures effectively prevent collusion between employees and crew members.

Another challenge for airport operators lies in the performance of its screening agents. The checkpoint can quickly become a chaotic environment with multiple sources of distractions for agents. Such an atmosphere has a direct impact on the agents’ capacity to focus on image analysis tasks and can lead to poorer results in threat detection.

Optimising resources

Solutions such as Vanderlande’s ASL and CIP software address these challenges directly and can help airports maintain or enhance security at the checkpoint in many ways. An increase in throughput will result in a decrease in waiting times and in smaller queues at the checkpoint, therefore reducing the creation of soft targets.

Remote screening also allows agents to analyse images at another location, far from the distractions of the checkpoint. This enhanced working environment results in an improved performance in threat detection and resolution.

Based on a real case where our Multiplex screening software was used, the following table highlights how agents were able to improve their threat detection capabilities while increasing the speed at which they could do so.

Probability of detection (TIP - threat image projection)

  • Initial performance: 82%
  • Performance with Multiplex: 90%
  • Change: +8%

Ability to discriminate a 'threat' item from a 'safe' item ratio (d-prime)

  • Initial performance: 2.3
  • Performance with Multiplex: 2.75
  • Change: +19.5%

Average speed of threat analysis (TIP) per threat image

  • Inital performance: 13 seconds
  • Performance with Multiplex: 11 seconds
  • Change: +15% faster

Analysing images from a remote location also means that screeners have no contact with the passengers or employees being screened. This significantly reduces the potential for collusion.

Preparing for new regulations

While integrated checkpoint solutions can address today’s security requirements, they should also help prepare an airport for the future. As the threats to the aviation industry evolve, authorities and aviation associations are consistently modifying and elevating the security standards expected from airports, which then need to invest in new technologies.

The use of computed tomography (CT) at checkpoints is a prime example of this, as airports are turning to advanced technology to improve their threat detection capabilities. Although highly effective, such devices must be properly integrated with a checkpoint’s existing equipment to ensure operational efficiency.

Staying ahead

For these reasons, airports should choose a flexible checkpoint solution that will easily evolve with their changing needs. That’s why our specialists are continuously working to ensure that our solutions stay ahead of security trends.

Vanderlande’s solutions are flexible enough to cope with future demand – a few modules can be changed on a lane, rather than the whole lane, for example. In addition, our software maintenance programme enables airports to benefit from regular updates that comply with the most recent industry requirements.

Regardless of an airport’s objectives in terms of security and throughput, limited resources are often a concern when it comes to utilising new methods and technologies. Find out more about this topic in our next blog “Growing with limited resources”. Alternatively, you can further explore the world of checkpoint security in our previous blogs (part 1 and part 2).


Raúl Fernandez
Raúl Fernandez
Product Manager
Raúl Fernandez
Darren Durham
Product Manager

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