Posted on: 20 August 2019 by Kimberley Young
Guernsey Airport is investing more than £1.5 million in new screening equipment as the airport aims to resolve delays in clearing security.
The announcement comes as the airport apologised to departing passengers who have experienced long queues and excessive delays in clearing security, whilst some have voiced concerns over “frequent and potentially intrusive body searches.”
Head of aviation services at the airport, Ash Nicholas said: “We are making every effort to address the recent situation, and once all the new scanning equipment is in place we are confident travellers will see a significant improvement. In the meantime I can only apologise to anyone who has been affected, and we are grateful for everyone’s patience while all the changes happen.”
Guernsey Airport has recently faced a number of challenges, with under-staffing particularly an issue, leading to a reduction of the central search area on “many occasions” to one security lane at peak times.
“We know this has resulted in long queues, to maintain a compliant security screening process. We can only apologise again to anyone who has been affected, and would like to reassure travellers that we are determined to improve the current situation, to overcome these issues and provide a positive customer experience. We are taking a number of actions to address these concerns.”
The airport hopes the new, more modern screening equipment will help alleviate the issues, reducing the requirement for manual searches, enabling faster clearance and “be less intrusive for passengers.”
The first phase will feature the arrival of a new, hi-tech body scanner which is expected to be installed around the end of September.
The scanners are wheelchair compatible and have step-free access, and Ash Nicholas said it is less restrictive in space than older, enclosed scanners used in some airports.
Once installed, if a passenger activates the archway metal detector, they will be asked to step into the scanner. If the scanner also indicates a problem, it will identify where on the body, which enables a more targeted and less invasive manual search.
Nicholas continued, “Guernsey Airport is also proposing to replace the machines currently used to scan cabin baggage this year.”
The airport’s security contractor G4S are also recruiting more staff to reduce delays, who all undergo a rigorous training programme before taking up their role.