Passenger screening methods to become increasingly less intrusive

A new report from market research firm Frost & Sullivan predicts that passenger screening methods at airports around the world will become less intrusive in the coming years as authorities increasingly turn to automation and pre-processing initiatives to streamline the process.

In fact, the research firm said that an assortment of portal scanners, biometric collection devices, and pre-clearance based on voluntary background investigations will transform the passenger screening process altogether.

Although the threat of terrorism remains the most influential market driver, efficient checkpoint processing is in high demand by airports to reduce passenger wait times. As a result, Frost & Sullivan projects that global spending on passenger screening technology will grow modestly over the next five years, reaching $1.63 billion in 2020, up from $1.42 billion in 2014.

According to a recent passenger forecast released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the number of global annual airline passengers will reach 7.3 billion by 2034, more than double from the 3.3 billion reported in 2014. Screening technologies enhance passenger processing, but the technology is only as efficient as those operating it. A risk-based approach to security was established to speed up the screening process, wherein screeners would focus on travellers who are perceived to present a security threat. However, accelerating the passenger screening process has been met with resistance from officials who believe it lessens the effectiveness of checkpoint operations.

Identifying high-risk passengers is only one element of establishing a more efficient airport passenger screening operation. For a more thorough system, airports are looking for innovative technologies capable of screening a large number of people quickly and accurately. Additionally, deploying scanners than can detect non-metallic improvised explosive devices will also be imperative.