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Business News/ Companies / People/  Delhi airport to get full-body scanners, X-ray gear by Dec
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Delhi airport to get full-body scanners, X-ray gear by Dec

Authorities have realized the need to have modern equipments to enable higher air passenger throughput

All hyper-sensitive airports with annual footfalls of more than ten million passengers each have to install full-body scanners. Premium
All hyper-sensitive airports with annual footfalls of more than ten million passengers each have to install full-body scanners.

New Delhi: Passengers flying out of the Delhi airport from January onwards are expected to face less congestion inside the terminal as the airport has decided to install five full-body scanners and high-end X-ray machines by this year-end.

“Body scanner trails have been conducted. In line with the BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation and Security) guidelines, DIAL (Delhi International Airport Ltd) has planned to install five units by December 2023," a Delhi airport spokesperson told Mint.

According to the latest directive from civil aviation agency BCAS, all hyper-sensitive airports with annual footfalls of more than ten million passengers each have to install full body scanners. There are over 40 such airports in the country, according to data from the Airports Authority of India for FY23. While the airports were asked to install this technology in 2019, they were unable to meet the deadlines due to disruptions caused by the pandemic.

BCAS has also instructed all airports handling five million passengers or more to install by December 2023 X-ray machines for cabin bags, which don’t require passengers to remove electronic devices from their bags during security screening. These equipment are based on CT (computed topographical images) technology based on 3D X-ray image processing, which offer better viewing for security checks.

“Passengers need not take out laptops, phones, electronics, liquids, etc., during screening that enhance passenger experience," the Delhi airport spokesperson said.

With record levels of air traffic at Indian airports since December 2022, the authorities have realized the need to have modern equipment and technologies to enable higher air passenger throughput at airport terminals which often face limitations on capacity expansion. In addition, terminals are also plagued by congestion during security screening due to manual checking of passengers by personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force.

The need for CT machines was especially felt during the peak travel season in December, where the authorities identified the wait time of taking out electronic devices from the check-in bags as the main reason behind the congestion and serpentine queues during security screening.

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According to the Delhi International Airport, which runs the airport, CT trials are being planned at Terminal 2 as the CT machine has already been installed there. The outcome of the trial will be declared by a joint committee constituted by BCAS. The airport added that it will ensure installation of CT machines in line with BCAS circular.

“The total number of machines will be decided following meetings with original equipment manufacturers," the airport spokesperson added.

While these moves will help reduce congestion at Delhi airport, upgrade of services at other airports may take a little more time.

Airports under the AAI are also in the process of firming up requirements for procurement of full body scanners and CT machines.

“As a large number of major airports have still not finalized their requirements, the deadline of December 2023 may have to be postponed. However, there is a greater push from the ministry to implement this as fast as possible as the air traffic in India is exponentially increasing," an industry expert said.

Domestic airlines carried a record 13 million passengers in March, up by over 11% compared to the corresponding month of 2018 and 2019, according to a Directorate General of Civil Aviation data. Air passenger traffic for the month was also 7% higher than February, and 21% from a year ago, the data showed. Air passenger numbers have constantly been high since December and hit a new record of 456,082 on Sunday.

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Published: 01 May 2023, 11:11 PM IST
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