Airport security portals get mixed reaction
Passengers passing through two regional airports in the USA have given a mixed response to new unmanned security portals installed to secure the exits.
The booths at Syracuse and Atlantic City are designed to stop unauthorised people accessing sensitive areas, as well as prevent passengers from re-entering them once they have disembarked, the Associated Press reports.
Up to six passengers can enter the automated portals from one side, after which a door closes behind them. Once that is secured, the door opposite opens and a pre-recorded voice instructs them to ‘please exit’.
They are being implemented as a cost-saving measure because they eliminate the need to pay human security guards to patrol the exits. Syracuse Airport said it expects to recoup the $750,000 cost for its eight new portals within ‘a little over’ 12 months.
“Certainly funding is limited for staffing,” commented the facility’s aviation commissioner Christina Callahan.
“Airports are going to have to find other ways to keep up with mandates.”
However, some passengers were less than enthused with their experience of the booths.
Cindy Katz, who flew to Atlantic City airport for the Thanksgiving holiday, told the news provider that they “slow everyone down”.
Some passengers have expressed fears that the portals are a risk to privacy, but South Jersey Transportation Authority spokesman Kevin Rehmann dismissed the idea.
“We’re not scanning anything or doing anything really,” he said. “When one side’s open, the other side’s closed. Period.”
These types of concern are perhaps to be expected given that many airports now use full body scanners to screen passengers. Just last month, UK transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin was forced to play down concerns over the machines after 11 more British airports, including Stansted and Liverpool, were instructed to install body scanners by the government.
They pose “no known health risks”, he insisted, before arguing that “nearly all passengers accept the use of security scanners and find the process quick and convenient”.