Canberra Airport is beefing up security with three state-of-the-art body scanners and luggage screeners, with a fourth set dependent on passenger numbers as and if the coronavirus is beaten.
In future, departing passengers will stand between two screening walls with their arms slightly out.
A type of radio wave will be blasted at them and within two seconds a profile of the body be produced, together with the place where any suspicious object like a gun or bomb might be.
According to the manufacturer, the body screener “consists of a flat panel with thousands of transmitter antennas that emit extremely low-power millimetre waves in very short succession and just as many receiver antennas.”
A millimetre wave is a type of radio wave which the manufacturer says is a fraction of the power of a mobile phone.
The machine sends the waves all over the body and then receives them back and analyses them instantly.
“When a potential threat is detected, the location of the object is marked on a neutral graphic outline of a human body,” according to the company.
The airport isn’t saying how much the upgrade cost but it’s thought to be in the millions of dollars but probably not more than $10 million.
As well as the body scanners, the airport is installing new baggage screeners which mean that passengers won’t have to remove laptops.
“The new machines have reached the highest level of security certification and eliminate the need to remove liquids, aerosols, and electronic devices like laptops from cabin bags,” the airport’s head of aviation, Michael Thomson, said.
“Several passengers can put their bags down simultaneously for screening, compared to the previous system where passengers had to wait for their turn.
“The passenger pauses briefly as they pass through the body screening machine and it provides a safe full image for operators to review. This more informative image coupled with automatic algorithms to help guide operators to items of interest, makes this a truly powerful security tool.”
The airport is also using body temperature scanning to detect passengers who might have a feverish temperature.