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Screening - Articles and news items

Keeping baggage safe

Issue 6 2011  •  8 December 2011  •  Stefano Dolci, Head of BHS Management, SEA - Milan Airports

The handling of baggage is a very important activity within an airport. One of the main concerns of passengers (and carriers) is to be able to find their baggage on arrival. For this reason the mishandled baggage rate (that is baggage not loaded into the correct plane and shipped afterwards to the passenger) is one of the key performance indicators of the service provided to travellers. Since 2003, the introduction of X-ray screening within all baggage procedures has become even more complex.It is useful to differentiate between the different types of baggage. They are:* ‘Local baggage’ that is checked in at the airport * ‘Transfer baggage’ arrives at an airport on one flight and leaves on another. This is divided into two sub-categories; ‘short connecting baggage’, defined by less than 45 minutes of transfer time, and ‘early baggage’ which incorporates more than three hours of transfer time * ‘Bulky baggage’, OOG (Out Of Gauge), that exceeds normal dimensions that are not suitable to be sorted with normal conveyor belts * ‘Special’ items that arrive at the plane with the passenger such as wheelchairs.There are also implicating costs to consider. The re-routing and shipping of mishandled baggage to its final destination has an average cost of $100. In 2010, 2.44 billion passengers travelled around the world via international airports. In all, there were 29 million cases of mishandled baggage (12 per cent) at a related cost of $3 billion. Europe accounts for approximately 50 per cent of mishandled baggage worldwide and the United States, another 25 per cent (SITA Baggage Report 2011).

A layered approach to security

Issue 3 2010  •  9 June 2010  •  Lee Kair, Assistant Administrator for Security Operations, TSA

On December 25, 2009, Umar Faruk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian citizen, allegedly attempted to detonate an improvised explosive device he smuggled on board Northwest Flight 253. The events of Christmas Day serve as a powerful reminder of the extremes to which terrorists will go to circumvent the enhanced security measures put in place since September 11, 2001. It also highlights that our adversary is adaptive and will engineer around static defenses. To stay ahead of this evolving threat landscape, TSA employs a layered approach to securing the Nation’s transportation systems. While our security checkpoints in airports are the most readily recognisable, we have many other critical layers of security in place to mitigate threats, including intelligence analysis, behaviour detection officers, canine teams, as well as other layers that may be visible and invisible to the public. Each layer alone is capable of stopping a terrorist attack but, in combination, their security value is multiplied, creating a strong, formidable system. A terrorist who has to overcome multiple security layers in order to carry out an attack is more likely to be pre-empted, deterred, or thwarted during – or even before – the attempt.


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