Israel Airport Authority (IAA) is investing $70 million in an aviation security system for the new passenger terminal at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport.

The move, which represents a switch from a passenger profiling-based system to a technology- based one, will take effect when the new terminal opens in 2004 and the airport has asked the government to approve a $4 security fee on each passenger to cover the investment.

The decision follows trials at the airport since July last year, where an array of X-ray devices replaced the "profile" security screening method. The system is based on off-the-shelf technology, but the software was adapted to the strict requirements of the Israeli general security service.

The profiling system, based on a series of questions the passenger is asked, caused delay and annoyance. Now the passengers enter a "sterile" area in the check-in hall, and after they put their luggage on the conveyor belts of the advanced X-ray machines, they go directly to passport control (Flight International, 6-12 August 2002).

According to airport officials, the new system saves time in checking those classified as "high risk" passengers, but it prolongs the time needed to check Israeli citizens, as until now they were only asked a few questions and cleared in seconds.

Source: Flight International