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Major Breakthroughs Made in Civil Aviation Security Screening Technology05/07/2018

Recently, CAAC published the Internal Control Standards for the Appraisal of Civil Aviation Millimeter Wave Full Body Scanners (the Standards) and the Procedures for Testing the Ability of Civil Aviation Millimeter Wave Full Body Scanners to Detect Prohibited Goods (the Procedures), which officially incorporated the millimeter wave full body scanners into the list of civil aviation security screening equipment, making China the third in the world and the first in Asia to independently publish the technical standards for millimeter wave full body scanners. The new technology will gradually replace the current walk-through metal detectors which have been in service at Chinese airports for 26 years, and will provide passengers with safer and more efficient security screening service.

Millimeter wave full body imaging is an advanced technology used globally for security screening, and it has already been used in airports in the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia and Japan, but only the U.S and the European Union have technical standards governing its application. Without direct contact with human body, the security scanner can detect objects concealed underneath a person’s clothing, especially nonmetallic objects, and can retrieve information on the shape, size and location of the concealed objects. This technology is harmless to human body and has a strong imaging capacity and an emission strength less than 1-thousandth the electromagnetic radiation of a mobile phone. It can accurately detect objects on human body, carry out more unbiased, accurate and targeted security checks, reduce the workload of security screening staff and improve screening efficiency.

The Standards and the Procedures creatively introduced the new concept of classifying screening equipment based on technology and management. In terms of technology-based classification, equipment will be classified into different categories according to their critical technical parameters. In terms of management-based classification, Guiding Opinion on the Use of Millimeter Wave Full Body Scanner is developed to match the technology-based classification in the technical standards governing the technology’s application, and various operation modes, security screening procedures, countermeasures, and risk alerts are specified for equipment on various technical levels.

In recent years, the Aviation Security Bureau of CAAC actively conducted assessment of the on-site trial use of new technologies in order to achieve a better application of new technologies. In August 2017, the Bureau of Aviation Security organized the simultaneous assessment of the on-site trial use of millimeter wave full-body scanners in Beijing Capital Airport, Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, Shanghai Pudong Airport and Qingdao Liuting Airport, and provided policy-wise support. In May 2018, passage traffic stress testing of millimeter wave full body scanner was once again carried out in Nanjing Lukou Airport and Qingdao Liuting Airport in order to further validate the passenger-handling efficiency of the equipment without compromising safety. For the next step, CAAC will simultaneously carry out research and pilot programs on new modes and policies for differentiated security screening, seeking to enhance safety, innovate the screening modes, optimize security screening procedures, improve screening efficiency and create better travel experience for passengers.