October 13: Manchester Airport began its latest security trial using an x-ray machine that can see through clothes. Passengers have the choice of going through the scanner or the traditional hand search by security staff including the need to remove coats, jackets, shoes and belts.
The technology works by bouncing x-rays off an individual’s skin to produce an outline image of the person’s body, showing up concealed objects. However, there is a perception that the image makes the person appear naked.
“Our passengers tell us that they don’t like being patted down by security staff at airports but they understand that it’s a necessary part of keeping them safe”, said Manchester Airport’s Head of Customer Experience, Sarah Barrett. “The process is entirely anonymous. We can assure the public that contrary to popular misconception, imaging technology does not allow security staff to see passengers naked. The image produced is a black and white, ghost-like outline of an individual’s body without any distinguishing features such as hair or facial features, making it impossible to recognise people but simple to detect concealed threats.”
The scanning equipment has been checked by radiation protection advisers from the Health Protection Agency and will only operate in Terminal 2 until enough data is gathered.