New body scanners are to be installed at all three of Manchester Airport’s terminals

Airport news for Manchester,Flights on 14/10/2010.

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Full-body scanning equipment will soon be in place in all three terminals at Manchester Airport. Following trials that lasted a year, the scanners are to be installed before the end of October.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission says it is concerned that the scanners will violate privacy laws. Bosses at Manchester Airport, however, said most passengers now prefer using the scanners to undergoing full-body pat downs.

Only some passengers are required to use the body scanners. People first use the ‘Smartgate’, which works like a metal detector. After passing this check, travellers are then instructed to the exit or to the body scanner. Anybody refusing to use the body scanner will not be allowed to board their aircraft.

Trials of the scanners started in October last year. In the time since, more than 400,000 passengers have been screened by the devices. Passing through the scanner takes just 25 seconds, compared to two minutes for a full body pat down. Since then, some passengers have refused, on religious grounds, to use the scanners.

Andrew Harrison, MD at Manchester Airport, said the scanners were originally trialled in response to complaints from many passengers about getting patted down by security. Though some scientists have voiced concerns about the possible health risks of these types of scanners and called for more research, the Health Protection Agency says the exposure levels are very small.

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