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Airport Show Provides Best Technologies To Facilitate Passenger Screening Processes
(22 January 2024)

As the number of airline passengers has surged to surpass pre-pandemic levels, airports worldwide have been expanding and improving their security measures, dedicating resources to ensure smoother processes and eliminate shortcomings.

The entire aviation industry has played a crucial role in maintaining airport safety and security, as evolving threats continue to shape the current and future framework of airport security globally. By 2030, the use of data, new technologies, and processes is expected to alleviate much of the checkpoint stress passengers currently endure.

Airport security is continuously being enhanced through broader collaborative relationships with governments, aviation regulators, and airport operators. Risk assessments are being conducted in advance, and screening technologies are becoming more discreet and decentralized, primarily occurring at gates or along airport corridors rather than at a central location.

Experts believe that the foundations for aviation security in 2030 are already in place, but there are still issues to be resolved and standards to be determined for successful product design. Facial recognition and biometrics are expected to become integral parts of the aviation security infrastructure. Improvements and expansions to airport security are crucial to accommodate the smoother movement of approximately seven billion air passengers by 2030.

The trend is moving towards relocating airport security processes off-site in several countries, including the Middle East region, to address the increasing passenger numbers and limited infrastructure development, according to officials of the Airports Council International (ACI-World).

Technologies are being adapted for newer and emerging security environments, with crucial data being shared throughout the passenger journey to address threats such as cybercrimes and explosive devices, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The world’s top experts and officials will discuss the current and future of aviation/airport security during their participation at the upcoming Airport Show in Dubai in May. They aim to recommend measures to fill up the gaps and improve the systems and procedures. The 23rd edition of the Airport Show, along with its co-located events Air Traffic Control (ATC) Forum, Airport Security Middle East, and the Global Airport Leaders Forum (GALF), will be held over three days from May 14 to 16. The much-anticipated event will bring together the world’s leading airport suppliers and service providers, as well as aviation leaders and regional decision-makers to showcase the latest innovations and technologies. This year’s theme, Sustainability and Innovation, reflects the airport industry’s focus on embracing cutting-edge technology and greener initiatives to drive growth and efficiency.

Emaratech Group CEO, Thani Alzaffin, stated that as airports face increasing passenger volumes, changing regulations, and the need to improve competitiveness, his company is at the forefront of tackling these challenges. With innovative IT solutions and advanced technologies, they empower airports to strengthen safety, efficiency, and security measures. Their state-of-the-art solutions, such as biometric identification and artificial intelligence, significantly contribute to modernising airport security.

In the realm of smart travel, the company has played a major role in pioneering advancements, particularly in collaboration with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs-Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai), Emirates Airlines, and Dubai Airports. It envisions a customer-focused experience achieved through a highly secured and integrated process that seamlessly encompasses all airport touchpoints.

He said that the future of travel significantly relies on the transformative power of biometrics technology and touchless passenger experiences. These innovations are designed to reshape the landscape of air travel, offering numerous benefits for all stakeholders, especially when such seamless processes are introduced across countries. From the perspective of airports and aviation authorities, the new experience holds immense promise.

According to industry insiders, airport security is a complex and crucial aspect of the Middle East region’s aviation infrastructure. Given the geopolitical situation and heightened security concerns, airports have been prioritising stringent security measures that cover passenger and baggage screening, access control, surveillance systems, and collaboration. Middle Eastern airports are at the forefront of implementing advanced technologies like biometric scanning, explosive detection systems, and AI-driven surveillance to enhance security. Additionally, stringent regulations are applied and airports and airlines adhere to international safety standards.

The global airport security market size is expected to reach US$26 billion by 2030, according to a research report published by Spherical Insights Consulting. It says the Middle East Airport Security Market faces unique security challenges primarily due to the complex geopolitical factors prevalent in the region. These challenges significantly impact how airports approach and implement security measures given their proximity to active conflict zones.

Middle Eastern airports are employing a combination of methods, including physical inspections and advanced technology. Passengers are screened through metal detectors, full-body scanners, and explosive trace detection machines. Additionally, hand luggage and personal items are subjected to X-ray scans to identify any prohibited or potentially dangerous items. In some cases, passengers may also undergo secondary screenings based on behavioral profiling or random selection, ensuring a thorough assessment of potential risks.

Middle Eastern airports use state-of-the-art baggage screening systems that employ X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans to create detailed images of the contents of checked baggage. These technologies help security personnel identify any suspicious or prohibited items, including explosives, weapons, or contraband. Automated systems also flag anomalies for further inspection. Trained staff meticulously examine flagged items, ensuring that nothing poses a security threat before allowing baggage onto the aircraft.

They are at the forefront of adopting advanced security technologies to enhance safety. Biometric systems like facial recognition and iris scans are increasingly being used for identity verification and access control, streamlining the passenger journey while ensuring security. Additionally, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms are deployed to analyse passenger behaviour and detect anomalies that may indicate potential threats.

Explosive Detection Systems (EDS) are being widely employed to identify explosive materials in checked baggage. These systems use sophisticated algorithms to analyse X-ray images and detect trace amounts of explosives, providing an additional layer of security.

Furthermore, Middle Eastern airports are investing in surveillance technologies, including high-definition CCTV cameras and video analytics, to monitor passenger and staff activities across the airport premises. Real-time intelligence sharing has been enabling airports to proactively respond to potential threats and adjust security measures accordingly.

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