Airport Security

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Airport Security and Screening

Airport security is an integral part of carrying out all activities in all airport globally. More accurate and efficient security screening practices and measures are the biggest priority of any air transport system. Screening of the person and their luggage for prohibited items refers to the methods, procedures and techniques used in an attempt to control and protect staff, passengers and vessels of transport from malicious, accidental, crime among many others. Screening of person and carry-on luggage is one of the essential steps in maintaining both internal security and international security of countries. Local and international airports must make sure all passenger are thoroughly checked at all terminus to ensure that no illegal goods enter a country. All local transport systems should make arrangements on how the screening of their passengers to ensure no incidents of terrorism. Besides some illicit goods may be in transit when the passengers are not adequately screened, examples are hard drugs, unlicensed firearms, smuggled goods and so much more.

How screening is implemented and why

Firstly, sophisticated machines such as modern x-rays have been widely used to screen passengers and their luggage at all international airports as a way of controlling illegal smuggling of goods or hard drugs. This has helped greatly reduce drug trafficking through the airports which was used before the advancement in technology in the current days. Each and everybody including persons of high profiling must go through the screening ensuring that all passengers are free from prohibited items. Equipment such as metal detectors are used to screen travelers who may have carried with them weapons or items that could be used as weapons on board airplane so as to hijack the plane. Secondly, the police force has played a major role in the screening process. There are different police departments in the airports which include; the detectives, patrol police and the police with the sniffer dogs among many other groups. Countries have a branch of local police stationed at their airports. This police force has been used to deal with persons who are trafficking prohibited item through the airports. The police at the airport have a responsibility to apprehend the criminals and see through their prosecution at the courts. The sniffer dogs largely help to identify the luggage which may contain hard drugs and illegal weapons in the airports. These prohibited items may be hidden deep into the passengers' bags but with the sniffer dogs it's easier for identification. Thirdly, another measure used in international airports is the fiber optic perimeter intrusion detection systems. This system helps the airports' authorities to locate and detect any intrusion the airport perimeter. This system is ensures a real-time and immediate notification of intrusion hence the security can be able to track the movements and use the necessary training techniques to handle the intruders. Finally, the advanced security cameras has been used in airport terminus for facial recognition and face matching of suspects who may have come to the airport to smuggle prohibited items. This is important as the most suspected criminal will keep off the airport to avoid arrest and sentencing.

How security screening failure has occurred

Firstly, sometimes the technological failure on X-ray machines and the metal detectors has led to access to the aeroplanes by persons with illegal items. Most of this times the terrorists can carry out hijacks and attacks. For example, the on 31st October 2015, an Airbus flying from Egypt to Saint Petersburg broke-up above the Sinai killing everyone on board, becoming the most deadly air disaster in Russian history. Secondly, hacking of security cameras by the criminals. Dexterous computer literate individuals may hack the security cameras in the airports hence the offenders can be able to get into the airport without being noticed and carry with them dangerous weapons and prohibited items which may be used to carry out attacks. Thirdly, airports the screening failure may occur as a result of the malicious security officers working together with potential criminals who may want to transport their illegal goods through the airport hence giving some share of cash to the officers in charge of security. Fourthly, scanners in the developing countries may not be up to date; therefore, they may not detect the latest explosive devices that can be hidden in electronic devices. The ban on laptops has been reported since explosives can be smuggled using them. This has been said to be the evaluated intelligence in which criminals used to blow off the Daallo Airlines in 2016.

Critical analysis of the screening process

The screening machines such as the X-ray machines should be regularly serviced in order to avoid their malfunction at the time they are highly needed for screening. There has been many occurrences of the machine failure in many international airports and this is the prime time the criminals use to smuggle the prohibited items through the airport. The most airports in the world use some old machines which are not updated leading to the entrance or exit of prohibited items through the airport without notice of the officials at duty. The airports should have more than enough screening equipment to ease the burden of using less machine hence creating congestion in the airport. The officials working in the airport including the police officers, should be well equipped with the knowledge on how to investigate and search for contrabands, firearms and small metallic objects that may cause harm to the passengers boarding the plane to avoid hijacking and terror attacks using the planes. Vigilance at the airport should be paramount to curb incidences of corruption that may occur when some official take bribes from criminals to ensure their prohibited items go through the airport. Any official working in the airport should be monitored closely to check whether they engage in any unlawful activity which may risk the security of the passengers and the country at large.

Reasons against screening

To start with, the scanners that are used in the airport terminus such as the X-ray exposes persons to radiation, electric and magnetic fields which may be very dangerous to their health as neoplasia (cancers). If a person is a regular traveller using the air services he or she will frequently be screened using the X-ray machines which may be the cause of cancer. Secondly, reproductive disorders may occur due to regular screening to daily passengers using the X-ray machines at the airport. Thirdly, exposure to this radioactive rays from the X-ray screen machine may lead to cardiac problems to individuals who frequently use the flight services. Fourthly, the scanners used by the airports authoritie4s may be a source of spreading microbial diseases since they are in contact with the body of many different individuals in a day. Infections may be transmitted through various routes such as inhalation, contacts with wounds or cuts, or through ingestion.


In conclusion, safety and security are of essential importance in the aviation sector to safeguard international civil aviation against unlawful acts that may interfere with the safety of all crew, passengers and the public in general. Airport operators match each checkpoint with the best screening methods and technology. Some airports are experimenting with the 3D X-ray technology to provide a better, more secure screening process. With the advancing technology airports screening of persons and luggage is very essential due to the emerging terror attacks and smuggling of illegal goods and weapons. Scientists should try and come up with screening machines that do not emit radioactive rays to curb the occurrence of cancer, reproductive disorders and the cardiac diseases. The scanners should be updated with the latest technology to be able to detect the new methods the criminals come up with in transit of firearms and explosives. The police in the airport should always go for refresher courses to update them on the trending methods the criminals are using so that they can be able to sabotage their dangerous missions.


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October 30, 2023


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