Best Of Aviation Queen: Does IATA Have The Answer To Better Airport Screening?

Editor’s note: I’m taking the week off for vacation, so check out some of my favorite blog posts of 2013. Airports around the world have struggled to work with their governments to to find a good balance of checkpoint security efforts since the aftermath of 9/11. The organization representing the world’s airlines weighs in with its thoughts. The post below first appeared on the blog on June 24. Enjoy!

 

The security checkpoint at BWI Airport.  Photos by Benet J. Wilson

My former colleague Lori Ranson is a respected freelance aviation journalist. She recently wrote an excellent piece for Mary Kirby’s (another great aviation journalist and former colleague) APEX Editor’s Blog entitled “IATA seeks to restore humanity to airport screening.”

Ranson went into fascinating detail about what the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an organization that represents the world’s carriers sees as the airport checkpoint of the future, first released in 2011.  In a nutshell, IATA wants to bring back the humanity in the screening process, allowing passengers to keep on shoes and jackets, and leave laptops in their bags, among other things.

“COF’s goal is to create a security framework that moves away from a one-size-fits-all approach to procedures built on a risk-management approach supported by optimising and enhancing technology, improving data management, and using biometric identification and behavioural analysis to strengthen security screening, increase check-point operational efficiency and improve the passenger experience at screening checkpoints,” writes Ranson.

When I read this, and read the words “checkpoint of the future,” a bell went off in my head. During almost six years of covering airports and aviation security for Aviation Week and Aviation Daily, that concept became a central theme for the Transportation Security Administration.

Back in April 2008, TSA announced — with a media event at Washington National Airport — that it was unveiling what it called the Airport Security Checkpoint of the Future. We were all shuttled out to an empty hangar, where we saw a mock-up of that checkpoint.  You can read my AvWeek Towers and Tarmacs blog post on that event here.  It was based on a study done by Palo Alto, Calif.-based innovation and design firm Ideo.

The concept was put in place at my hometown Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport about a month later. Elements included things designed to calm the checkpoint process, including: soothing lights; new age music and bird tweets (yes, bird tweets); profiles that personalized TSA screeners; an area to throw out trash and items that couldn’t be taken past security; and more clearly designed queues.  You can hear my 3-minute podcast on my experience going through the checkpoint here.

So IATA jumping into the checkpoint arena is interesting, since this has been the turf of the Transportation Security Administration, partnering with airports.  IATA is stepping up its efforts to test technology that weeds out “known travelers” from those with higher risk factors.  So it will be interesting to see what IATA will be able to achieve by its 2020 deadline. You can see a video on the checkpoint of the future here.

– See more at: http://www.aviationqueen.com/does-iata-have-the-answer-to-better-airport-screening/#sthash.zUwP010b.dpuf

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