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Naked body scanners for Manchester Airport terminals

Technology to be rolled out one year after trials

Published on October 13th 2010.


Naked body scanners for Manchester Airport terminals

All three of Manchester Airport’s passenger security areas will have body scanners by the end of October.

Work to install a body scanner in Terminal 3 is underway, a year after they were first trialled at the airport. The scanners allow security staff to see through clothing.

Since the launch of the new scanners, around 400,000 people have used the technology. Results of passenger surveys since the airport began a voluntary trial in Terminal 2 in October 2009 reveals that over 95 per cent of travellers rated the body scanner process to be a significant improvement on the traditional airport security ‘pat down’.

The airport also said the new technology had cut queue times from an average of two minutes to about 25 seconds.

“We began trialling a body scanner in 2009 because one of the most regular complaints from our passengers was about being patted down at security”, said Andrew Harrison, Manchester Airport’s managing director.

“Body scanners could solve this but we also knew that the technology was controversial which is why we embarked on a trial.

“Our passengers and staff tell us that they much prefer the experience of a body scanner because it is significantly quicker as it doesn’t involved being frisked nor does it require them to remove their coats, jackets and belts.

“We fully respect that a small number of people have reservations about body scanners on privacy or medical grounds but we have gone to great lengths to ensure the highest levels of privacy protection and expert studies have shown that the technology is safe.

“That’s why we have decided to install a body scanner in Terminal 3 giving all of our 18 and a half million passengers a better security experience when travelling through Manchester Airport.”

When the body scanner trial began in 2009, under 18s were exempt from the process in accordance with specialist advice at the time. Passenger feedback was 75 per cent positive, according to the survey.

But a week after an alleged terrorist incident on a US flight into Detroit was foiled last December, passenger acceptance levels at Manchester Airport increased to over 95 per cent.

In February, the government instructed Heathrow and Manchester to make the technology compulsory.

The latest decision to by airport bosses makes Manchester the first UK airport to deploy body scanners across all of its passenger terminals.

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousOctober 18th 2010.

So what is the option for those who do not wish to have naked photos taken of them? Surely the right to privacy should be taken into account?
I won't be flying from Manchester airport again if I have no opt out of these machines.

AnonymousOctober 18th 2010.

That is your only option, fly from another airport if you don't like it. An anonymous scan is a small price to pay for your security is it not? Surely the right to not be subjected to a terrorist attack should be taken into account?

Smyth HarperOctober 18th 2010.

I really don't see how these scanners breach privacy. There is no contact between the scanee and the person viewing the scan, the image are deleted immediately, and they aren't naked images anyway as they scan through to below the first layer of skin. I got to see a presentation on them a while back, as part of a group of people who did have legitimate concerns, some for reasons to do with the fact they were trans and had implants, and others from a religious perspective. Everyone at the end was both impressed and also reassured.

I was in Tenerife last year (I know, but I needed some sun!). When we were returning, the metal detector bleeped me, as usual, and the first thing the guard did was tweak my nipples, persumably looking for a piercing. Now that was invasive! I'd rather go through an anonymous scanner than be groped by a security guard...

You have to put up with a lot of things when travelling, this makes the process easier, quicker and less invasive than traditional security.

TOMOctober 18th 2010.

We could just use racia/religiousl profiling as an alternative? no think the scanners are a good idea , dont you?

taffinmancOctober 20th 2010.

I fly a lot through Manchester Airport and to be honest the security checks are a joke in general, what's to stop anyone pulling the emergency door at 35k feet and de pressurising the aircraft most probably causing loss of life and a crash, there are also a host of objects that can be used as weapons that you can legally take and buy on board.

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