Melbourne Airport introduces new body scanners

10 December 2012 (Last Updated December 10th, 2012 18:30)

Melbourne Airport in Australia has begun rolling out body scanners at its international terminal, installed as part of the Australian Federal Government's $200m Strengthening Aviation Security Initiative.

Melbourne Airport, Australia

Melbourne Airport in Australia has begun rolling out body scanners at its international terminal, installed as part of the Australian Federal Government's $200m Strengthening Aviation Security Initiative.

The body scanners will operate along with walkthrough metal detectors to randomly screen passengers, with the capability to detect both metallic and non-metallic items.

In addition to Melbourne Airport, the new scanning technology is being deployed at seven other international gateway airports in the country, following the passing of the Aviations Transport Security Amendment (Screening Bill) by the Australian Parliament in August 2012.

The scanners use millimetre-wave non-ionising radio frequency energy and generate around 10,000 times reduced radio frequency energy compared to an average mobile phone call.

Protection of passengers' privacy will be ensured by generating generic human outline without providing details, which will be erased following the completion of scanning.

Passengers are also allowed to choose alternate scanning by opting for three security checks, including a metal detector scan, body frisk and explosives test.

Airport staff, pilots and cabin crew are mandated to undergo a body scan on a random basis, while those who refused, with no valid medical or physical condition, will not be allowed to board the flight.

"The body scanners will operate along with walkthrough metal detectors to randomly screen passengers."

Body scanners are also deployed for aviation security scanning in several other nations that include the UK, Thailand, the US, Canada and the Netherlands.

Prior to the deployment, the body scanning equipment were trialled at Melbourne and Sydney in 2011.

The airport has also commenced its Forecourt Redevelopment Stage 2 project that involves construction of a new fourth lane to reduce traffic congestion in and around the airport.

As part of the project, 25 more pick-up bays will be added to its forecourt area alongside widening the entry to Arrivals Drive that provides a dedicated slip lane to couriers and trucks through the loading dock.


Image: Ahead of deployment, the body scanners were trialled at Melbourne and Sydney in 2011.