In the past, airport terminals have been particularly vulnerable to violent attacks that have resulted in loss of life both on the ground and on in-flight aircrafts. Much has been done to improve passenger safety as a result of attacks, but threats have come with increasing regularity and become more complex in nature. Airports are stepping up security in significant ways, including the use of UVSS (under vehicle surveillance system).
In the wake of terrorist attacks earlier this year in Paris and the publication of a detailed bomb recipe disseminated over the Internet by al Queda, airports in Canada, Israel, Australia, the United States, and other countries are increasing their security measures again. London’s Gatwick airport officials and U.S. Transportation Security Administration, among others, are calling on entire airport communities to join in security awareness and help keep their airports safe.
Vigilance makes airports less appealing targets if they are seen as hostile environments to terrorists who are looking for opportunities to create mayhem. Including airport employees; taxi, shuttle, and bus drivers; airport venders and delivery services; frequent flyers; and the thousands of other people with airport related employment, in the solution enhances security everyone.
The implementation of passenger full-body scans, baggage scans and physical searches, random palm swabbing for explosives residue, and random passenger searches have all been added to increase in-air security. But what about the airport terminal itself? Airports are rapidly moving toward using new technologies to help tighten security. One of the most important tools is the UVSS.
Airports using under vehicle scanning systems to inspect the undercarriage of incoming and outgoing vehicles are safer. They use the under vehicle scanner on all vehicles entering secured areas, particularly those located on the airside portion of the airport. They are a deterrent to acts of terrorism and smuggling, which may otherwise occur.
Historically, airports have relied on the mirror on a pole method to check the undercarriage of vehicles entering the airport. This outmoded security measure was labor intensive and not the best use of human resources. It also put security personnel at risk. They often fail to detect contraband or threats in the middle of the underside of the vehicle.
Due to the high volume of catering and maintenance vehicles passing through certain checkpoints 24 hours a day, airports have found that a UVSS at each entry point aids security without disrupting operations. Scanning systems can also store accurate vehicle information and record images for future vehicle recognition. Although under vehicle scanning systems serve an essential role in airport security, there is no substitution for airport community vigilance.