Blog seriesPreparing for the airport of tomorrow

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

Airports are facing multiple challenges worldwide. Whether they expect a year over year passenger growth or they are confronted with a full stop due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they must continuously optimise their operations to maintain passenger satisfaction and improve their competitiveness in the market. This series of blogs identifies eight major challenges many airports face in security screening - a critical step in a passenger's journey.

Part 8: preparing for the airport of tomorrow

Almost overnight, the game has completely changed with respect to passenger volumes at airports. While the former trends were to cope with the accelerated rise of air traffic, evolving threats, and the introduction of new technologies, the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has put paid to many pre-existing airport strategies.

The focus has instead turned to introducing pandemic-related measures in order to reduce the risk of transmission – for example, through self-service options. Despite this, airports continue to look for ways to reduce their operational expenses, better control resources, and function with fewer employees.

More than ever, airports must now future-proof their operations to be prepared to meet the requirements of tomorrow. The final article in our airport security series explores these trends and the necessity to choose scalable solutions when upgrading checkpoint equipment.

Integrating new technologies

As airports look for more effective screening solutions, proven technology from the medical industry – and well known in the field of hold baggage screening (HBS) – is making its way to the passenger checkpoint. Computer tomography (or CT) stands out as one of the most promising technologies for checkpoints and is currently being tested and deployed in multiple airports worldwide.

Allowing passengers to keep their large electronics and LAGs (liquids, aerosols and gases) in their bags and offering advanced detection algorithms, CT scanners have the potential to reduce divestment times (resulting in smaller queues) while enhancing security.

However, the integration of new technologies to existing checkpoints can have a significant impact on security operations. CT scanners must often be integrated with both existing and new equipment, agents need to receive significant training, and operations have to be adjusted.

Flexibility and scalability

While these changes are inevitable, the use of a scalable and flexible solution such as Vanderlande’s automated screening lane (ASL) and remote screening software can significantly ease the transition from 2D to 3D screening.

On the hardware side, the modularity of the ASL allows airports to quickly install new scanners by changing modules rather than the whole lane. In terms of operations, its centralised image processing (CIP) software can lessen the burden of such an upgrade by providing airports with a common graphical user interface (GUI).

Using this GUI for a mixed fleet of scanners – whether 2D or 3D, or even supplied by different vendors – can decrease operational expenses and ease the screener’s task by reducing the need for additional training.

Optimised operations

This capacity to quickly integrate new technologies will be of the upmost importance as airports deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, and become more connected than ever.

From the moment passengers purchase a ticket to the time they board the plane, their path will be tracked with various devices and software – all working in synergy to provide the airport with data that can be used to optimise its operations.

As a mandatory step in the traveller’s journey, the security checkpoint should be seen as a core element of an airport’s ecosystem as it sits between the curb and the gate. It can also facilitate the integration of cutting-edge, touchless technologies, in which passengers are required to govern much of the process themselves.

Partners, not just suppliers

Ultimately, airports need to take a layered approach in which a number of different technologies are combined to create the optimal security solution. Of course, the capacity of checkpoints to evolve – and match the global situation – is highly dependent on a supplier’s ability to act as an integrator.

With this in mind, airports should always aim to develop long-term partnerships with industry specialists who can also bridge the gap between the different stakeholders. Having solutions deployed in over 600 airports, Vanderlande is a skilled integrator with vast experience in the implementation of diverse technology.

Our team of experts always work in close consultation with airports to identify their specific needs and provide them with a state-of-the-art solution that adapts to changing demands, today and tomorrow. In this way, Vanderlande will continue to act as a partner rather than a supplier, whatever the future brings.

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This is the final article of our series to see how airports can seamlessly transition to the checkpoint of tomorrow while keeping up with new trends and regulations. Alternatively, you can further explore the world of checkpoint security in our previous blogs (part 1part 2part 3, part 4part 5part 6 and part 7).

Raúl Fernandez
Author
Raúl Fernandez
Product Manager
Raúl Fernandez
Co-author
Darren Durham
Product Manager

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