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New airport scanner to ‘sniff’ travellers

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has unveiled a prototype of a new airport scanning system that they claim will drastically decrease pre-flight security check waiting times for travellers. This sensational new technology is said to actually have the ability to “sniff” travellers for explosive substances.

According to the IATA, flyers are screened prior to the flight and placed into one of three ‘risk categories’; ‘known travellers’, ‘normal’, and ‘enhanced’.

The IATA press release says: ‘The three security lanes will have technology to check passengers according to risk. “Known travellers” who have registered and completed background checks with government authorities will have expedited access. “Normal screening” would be for the majority of travellers. And those passengers for whom less information is available, who are randomly selected or who are deemed to be an “Elevated risk” would have an additional level of screening.’

Whilst some travellers are likely to see being regarded as ‘enhanced’, or in reality ‘high risk’, Ken Dunlap of the IATA said ‘we’re looking at a way of increasing security where we don’t treat every passenger that has a pair of toe-nail clippers as a potential terrorist’.

Mr Dunlap described the ultimate goal as having a passenger ‘not break stride and walk right through the checkpoint’. This will be achieved with special scanners including advanced X-ray, shoe scanning, full-body screening, liquid detection and electronic sniffing for explosives.

But don’t expect this technology to appear in your local airport this summer – it is still a good few years away yet. For example, the electronic sniffing technology still needs further development. Either way, this unveiling shows the IATA’s commitment to improving travel conditions in this modern age of constant terrorist threat.