Travelers will have an easier and shorter time going through security next year at United Kingdom airports, says the government.
The British Airports Authority (BAA) claimed this week that 95 per cent of passengers would take less than five minutes to pass through security next year, thanks to improvements at its seven airports. It also promised that only one per cent of travellers would fail to pass through within 15 minutes.
Mike Forster, strategy director of BAA, says passenger security screening delays at Heathrow and Gatwick airports have been unacceptable. Forster blamed lack of capacity for the additional delays travelers experienced. Heathrow, for example, was built to serve 45 million passengers a year but currently serves 67 million passengers annually.
Investments in staff and new technology, he said, will make security screening more efficient.
The BAA hired 2,000 extra security staff this year, 680 of which will be deployed at Heathrow where 11 new security lanes are open and new scanners and arches are being installed. The new scanning technology, known as ATIX, "can automatically detect explosives and liquids and it offers the security staff multiple viewing angles, so the margin for error or unnecessary hold-ups is even smaller," Forster said.
Another new addition Forster singled out at Heathrow was a central control center that will check and update waiting times every 15 minutes and open lanes and add additional staff when necessary "to speed things up."