Airport Personnel Screening in an Uncertain World
December 22, 2015
Since the downing of a Russian jet in Egypt in October, airport and airline security is front and center again. In fact, lately there has been increased talk about screening airport employees, with some news outlets reporting that full screening currently doesn’t actually take place.
This is not exactly true. While airport employees may not undergo full physical screening on a daily basis, they are subject to a robust and thorough vetting by both the TSA and the FBI. The TSA first conducts a full security threat assessment, and then a full fingerprint scan is run through the FBI database for every employee who will need access to secure or sterile areas of the airport. Additionally, given the current state of security threats, airport personnel are screened sporadically to allow the TSA and airport security offices to determine if an employee has engaged in behavior that would lead to the revocation of their badge.
However, there has been a greater push for airports to conduct full physical inspections of all airport personnel to ensure the safety of all aircraft. In answer, some airports have set up employee inspection stations and do physically screen their employees.
Representatives at some airports feel that establishing an employee screening station would be cumbersome and inefficient given the nature of how often employees exit and enter the sterile area. This has resulted in some employees having to be screened multiple times a day when they need to re-enter the sterile area after having left it either for work or personal reasons.
We understand that the decision to establish or not establish a physical inspection point for airport personnel is not made lightly and that airport, airline, and passenger safety is a top priority for airport security directors. But any security process should also, ideally, take into consideration the need for efficiency, as well as safety.
Regardless of which approach is chosen, there are solutions - from lightweight and portable walk-through metal detectors to handheld explosive trace detection systems – that can help airports ensure complete security without sacrificing their employees’ time or efficiency. In a world where the threat landscape is constantly changing, Rapiscan stands prepared to offer the technology solution that is best suited to each individual situation – whatever the airport determines that to be.