Introducing Budapest Airport’s new passenger security screening system

Budapest Airport presented its new passenger security screening system today. BA deputy CEO Dimitrios Gatsonis, Malév CEO Péter Leonov and brigadier-general József Dúzs, the director of the Airport Police Directorate tested the devices, purchased for a total of 900 million HUF, in front of reporters.

BA will install all twelve state-of-the-art X-ray machines as well as new archway magnetic devices (AMDs) by 30 June, thereby completely replacing the airport’s passenger security screening system. The new equipment will make security screening quicker and more seamless, cutting waiting time and enhancing security.

Dimitrios Gatsonis presented the operation of the new hand baggage screening system and AMD at the press event. The baggage belts before and after the X-ray machine are longer, enabling four passengers to use it simultaneously at both ends, instead of the one or two currently. The machine automatically rotates the 20 trays that are in the system. At the end of the belt, a camera checks that the tray is empty and does not allow the machine to run on until there is as much as a single coin left on it.

The operator sees the baggage on two monitors, shown from the side and from above, giving a clearer picture of the contents. Similarly to the computer tomographs used in medical diagnostics, the device is capable of analyzing the density of materials in addition to their atomic weight. The machines used earlier labeled chocolate just as suspicious as explosives, since their atomic structures are similar, although their density is different. Thus, the number of false alarms will drop and passenger screeners will have to open fewer pieces of baggage, speeding up the screening process.

The device automatically signals if it encounters suspicious baggage. The operator can divert such baggage onto a separate belt with the push of a button. Thus, baggage considered “unclean” does not hold up the queue.

The new AMDs are much more intelligent than their predecessors. Whilst the old devices were equipped with six transceivers generating electric fields, the new ones have 20. They operate with a lower margin of error and the smaller number of false alarms results in a quicker, more seamless process. Budapest Airport’s new AMDs are also capable of detecting objects with a low metal mass, concealed in footwear, and their operation cannot be disturbed by external factors such as draught or neon lights.

At present, the systems used at Budapest Airport are considered to be cutting-edge technology in Europe, since these models by Smiths and Heimann appeared on the market only last year.

Dimitrios Gatsonis, the deputy CEO of Budapest Airport said: “We are putting a lot of emphasis to making security screening as comfortable and as quick as possible for our passengers ahead of the summer peak season. We are among the first airports to have such state-of-the-art technology; we are proud of the fact that we will be using it on a daily basis very soon, reducing waiting time for our passengers.”

Malév CEO Péter Leonov said: “We greatly appreciate that the management of the airport took the interests of airlines and of passengers into account, speeded up its earlier plans and will install the new passenger security screening systems of Terminals 2A and 2B ahead of the summer peak season. We hope that this will cut waiting times at passenger screening, and we will be able to operate with the timeliness that passengers have come to expect of us in the summer peak season as well.”