23 April 2016

New screening technologies on trial at Changi Airport terminal 3

Source: CAG. A view of the airside section of Singapore's Changi Airport.
Source: CAG. A view of the airside section of Singapore's
Changi Airport.
The Changi Airport Group (CAG) is conducting trials on new security screening technologies that can improve efficiency and processes at the screening checkpoints. The trials are being conducted at two boarding gates at Changi Airport Terminal 3 until June 2016. This is part of CAG’s effort to deliver a better airport experience for passengers.

CT security screening for hand-carry luggage

The first trial involves the use of a new type of security screening technology called computed tomography (CT) to screen hand-carry luggage at the boarding gates before passengers board their flights. The advantage of CT is that passengers no longer have to take electronic devices such as laptops and tablets out from their hand-carry luggage and place them on a separate tray for screening.

Automated tray return system

The CT trial includes the testing of a new automatic tray return system. With this automated system, trays can be presented to two passengers simultaneously at the start of the screening belt, enabling both to deposit their bags at the same time. The trays are automatically returned to the line after each screening cycle is completed, removing the need for security screening officers to manually bring the trays back to the start of the screening belt. This will improve screening efficiency and reduce waiting times for passengers.

Bags that require further checks will be automatically routed to a separate channel for followups by security officers. This improves overall flow.

Enhanced body scanning

Currently, departing passengers at Changi Airport are screened using walk-through metal detectors. To improve screening capabilities, CAG is trying out a body scanner machine that uses millimetre wave technology to detect both metallic and non-metallic items. 

Passengers, after removing items in their pockets or on their body, simply need to walk into the body scanner and be scanned, a process that takes a few seconds. The data will be analysed by a computer algorithm. If a concealed item is detected, a non-invasive outline image indicating the item’s location will be generated automatically. 

This allows the security officer to zoom in on the identified area to check the item, which would be more efficient. If nothing is detected, a green screen with an ‘OK’ appears and the passenger clears quickly.

Millimetre wave technology has been certified to be safe. It poses no known health and safety risks as it utilises a very low-power non-ionising form of electromagnetic technology. The amount of electromagnetic radiation emitted by millimetre wave security scanners is many times smaller than that emitted by a mobile phone. The scanner complies with the standards set by the US Food & Drug Administration, American National Standards Institute and United Kingdom Health Protection Agency.

Said Alan Tan, CAG’s Vice President of Aviation Security, “At Changi Airport, we take safety and security seriously and are committed to maintaining the highest standards. We work very closely with the authorities to review and adopt new advanced technologies and process innovation to improve security screening and enhance the passenger experience at Changi.”

“The data and passenger feedback we collect from the trials will help us assess the effectiveness and operational efficiencies of these new systems, before we ascertain their suitability for implementation at the airport.”