Manchester airport replaces hand searches with body scanning

14 May 2010 by BusinessTraveller

Manchester airport has struck an agreement with the European Commission, allowing it to replace current hand search procedures with the use of its body scanning equipment at its Terminal 2.

The 12-month trial agreement, the first of its kind in Europe, means that the airport will no longer use pat-down hand searches at its security gates within T2. When a passenger passes through the initial security archway, if they get a red light they will then be asked to walk through the body scanner, instead of being subjected to a hand search.

The airport says that the trial aims “to demonstrate to customers that they can keep their coats, jackets and shoes thus improving their journey through the security process” As part of the new process it has been trialling a new SMART lane layout which it says will “complement the use of the scanners improving flow rate and ensuring passenger experience is reinforced”.

Manchester airport originally introduced body scanners at Terminal 2 in October last year, at which stage passengers were able to choose whether or not to trial them. Since February this year the scanners have been made mandatory, meaning that anyone asked to, and refusing to be scanned, is now refused boarding.

Sarah Barrett, head of customer experience at Manchester airport, said: 

“The decision gives us an opportunity to improve our security procedure for the benefit of our customers which is exactly why we began using the scanner back in October. So far over 40,000 people have been through the scanner and it’s becoming another vital part of the security procedure here at Manchester. 

“We have continued to reiterate that the image generated cannot be stored or captured nor can security officers viewing the images recognise people. The decision from the European Commission means that we can use the scanners as we originally envisaged to quicken the process for our customers.” 

The airport has also announced that scanners will not be introduced at Terminals 1 and 3 (as had originally been envisaged) until the results of the new trial at T2 are ascertained. 

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Report by Mark Caswell

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