Airport International News - September 2007
BAA's UK Airports to Receive New X-Ray Machines
Posted by Paul Fiddian on 28/09/2007 - 06:03:25
A new security device, capable of identifying explosive material and liquids contained within hand luggage, is set to be implemented at seven airports in the UK. Known as the Advanced Threat Identification X-ray (ATIX) system, the machine is able to view a piece of luggage from multiple angles, within the same timeframe that standard X-ray machines can capture it from just one.
Once in place, the machines will take over from the X-ray systems currently operating across BAA's seven-strong UK airport network, which includes London's Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. The projected date for its entry into service is March 2008.
The new machines represent the first upgrade in UK airport X-ray technology since the late 1990s. Complementing them will be new tray return systems, which facilitate the progress of non-suspicious baggage, while also channelling bags deemed threat-worthy down a separate passage where they can be investigated further.
The new X-ray machines have been developed by Smiths Detection. According to its manufacturers, they will aid in the fight against terrorism, and also assist with reducing queuing times for passengers. However, details relating to the machines' ability to detect dangerous contents were kept under wraps.
Elsewhere on the UK airport scene, confirmation was today given by a spokesman from BAA that Heathrow Airport's security officer presence is set to be upgraded. This will produce a local security force 4,000-strong, of which approximately 660 will be stationed at Heathrow's yet-to-be-opened Terminal 5. The increase, said the spokesman, will generate 60 per cent more personnel at Heathrow than were there a year ago.
In recent days, control of the new terminal was formally handed over to the airport operating group.
Source - Airport International's Sub Editor
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