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Different Steps in Airport Security

Security checking at the Airport is performed at 4 levels. They are: a) b) c) d) Initial Airport Entry Checking Check-in Baggage Scanning Baggage Check-in and Boarding Pass Security Check-in (Body & Hand-Baggage)

The detailed description of each level checking, its bottlenecks and the proposed solutions are described below:a) Initial Airport Entry Checking

Activity The Security Personnel at the Airport Entry matches the Photo Identification Card shown with the Traveller and also with the Ticket produced. This is the first level of security checking done at the Airports. It is also done to allow only the travellers inside the Airport premises and restrict the friends & relatives from entering the premises and making it more congested. The valid Photo IDs can be the PAN card, Voter ID card or the Unique ID card which is soon to be generated for every citizen of India.

Bottleneck Usually there is only one single entry point for every airport. So long queues especially during the peak hours become the bottleneck in this activity.

Solution The above bottleneck can be removed by the following approaches:i) Increase in the Resources 1) The number of security personnel per gate can be varied on the basis of the peak hour loads. During leaner traffic period the number of security guards at the entry should be kept at minimum and should be increased to adjust to increase in the load during the peak hours. During the leaner traffic periods the redundant security guards could be posted at other places of the airport. 2) A few more parallel doors should be opened during the peak hours to handle the excess load. 3) There could be multiple terminals for different Airlines and the traffic could be diverted at the very entrance in the airport. This currently happens on some of the airports but has to be done with a systematic planning. Kolkata airport: Single entrance for all airlines. Mumbai airport: Multiple entrance as well as multiple terminals based upon Airlines.

ii) Trusted Traveller Approach

Treating every airport passenger as a potential terrorist slows the security system, A voluntary trusted-traveler approach would require passengers to provide credit information , tax returns and other personal data to prove that members are not a security risk. Passenger would also provide fingerprints and in return receive an identification card that would allow them to breeze through security. When members get to the airport they would enter a kiosk where they would get their fingerprints scanned or pass through iris technology to confirm their identity. They would still have to have their bags checked for any explosive devices, but they would not have to remove their hats, coats and shoes. b) Check-in Baggage Scanning Activity

Once inside the terminal the baggage has to be scanned through a scanner. The Baggage generally goes through an X-ray scanner and once it comes out successfully it is strapped and moved to the cargo section of the airplane via conveyers. This scanning process is optional in certain airports. This scanning process is not done for the cabin baggages. Also this process is airline specific meaning that separate scanning section is present for different airlines. Bottleneck Since there is only 1 scanner per airline, it takes a longer time to scan the luggage of all the people in the queue. During peak hours this bottleneck may be aggravated more. Solution a) All the scanners can be accumulated and a single scanning point can be created. This will save lot of space on the airport premises and also will distribute the varied loads of different airlines equally among them. b) Also the Photo ID verification process and baggage scanning can be combined into a single process. It can be done at the entry of the airport itself. It will save airport space as well as time of the whole operation. This will save us almost a minute per passenger.

c) Baggage Check-in and Boarding Pass

Activity During this activity check-in of the Baggage is done and the Boarding pass is issued for the travel. Usually this is second most time taking activity after the security check-in process. Again this process is airline specific and done separately for each airline. The baggage check-in process involves the baggage weighing and its release only if the weight of baggage is within the permissible range. If the weight crosses the permissible limit then the baggage can be released only after the payment of fines. A boarding pass is a document provided by an airline during check-in, giving a passenger permission to board the airplane for a particular flight. As a minimum, it identifies the passenger, the flight number, and the date and scheduled time for departure. In some cases, flyers can check in "on-line" and print the boarding passes themselves. Bottleneck The long Queues in the peak hours are the biggest bottleneck for the process of baggage check-in and boarding pass preparation.

Solutions Use of Web Check-in Kiosk Travellers can do their Check-in from the Kiosks installed having the facility of Web Check-in and print the Boarding Pass. The Kiosks can also be used for the luggage check-in. First the baggage would be weighed in the Kiosk itself and then checked in. In case of overweight the baggage will not be released for check-in unless the required charge is paid. Also from KIOSK machine the baggage can be placed directly on the conveyer belt to move towards the security check-in without standing in the queue. No additional man power is required for the Kiosk facility to be operated and the web checked person doesnt have to wait in queue for cabin baggage.

d) Security Check-in (Body & Hand-Baggage)

Activity A final round of security check is done where the Hand baggage and body checks are done in parallel. Travelers are screened by metal detectors. Explosive detection machines used include X-ray machines and explosives trace-detection portal machines also known as "puffer machines". Explosive detection machines can also be used for both carry on and checked baggage. These detect volatile compounds given off from explosives using gas chromatography. A recent development is the controversial use of backscatter X-rays to detect hidden weapons

and explosives on passengers. These devices which use Compton scattering require that the passenger stand close to a flat panel and produce a high resolution image. A technology released in Israel in early 2008 allows passengers to pass through metal detectors without removing their shoes, a process required as walk-though gate detectors are not reliable in detecting metal in shoes or on the lower body extremities. Alternately, the passengers step fully shod onto a device which scans in under 1.2 seconds for objects as small as a razor blade. In some countries, specially trained individuals may engage passengers in a conversation to detect threats rather than solely relying on equipment to find threats. United States is working on new scanning machines that are still effective searching for objects that aren't allowed in the airplanes but that don't depict the passengers in a state of undress that some find embarrassing. Generally people are screened through airport security into areas where the exit gates to the aircraft are located. These areas are often called "secure", "sterile" and airside. Passengers are discharged from airliners into the sterile area so that they usually will not have to be re-screened if disembarking from a domestic flight; however they are still subject to search at any time.

Bottleneck This is the maximum time taking activity in all the processes between the entry and exit through the airport premises. Baggage scanning takes the maximum time as the no of counter for body check is greater than the no. of baggage scanning counter. Solution The length of the security check-in conveyor belt can be increased to accommodate more baggages at a time which would reduce the waiting queue to a significant level. Normally during the scanning process if a baggage is suspected to be abnormal then the conveyer belt stops and the whole scanning process is stopped. This further increases the queue and increases the time taken for each of the traveller for the security checking process. An alternative solution would be to remove the suspected baggage from the conveyer by a suitable mechanism and allow the scanning process to go on uninterrupted. The waiting time in check-in queue can be utilized for the removal of laptop and shoes to avoid congestion near the conveyor.