International passengers will be stopped from boarding at Perth Airport from next week if they refuse a full body scan by new machines being rolled out as part of a $28 million security upgrade.
The L-3 ProVision millimetre-wave body scanner – as the most advanced. The equipment can detect metallic and non-metallic items under clothing. The images will show passengers as generic stick figures rather than the more invasive distinct body outline. The Privacy Commission has approved the scanners.
The new machines, to be installed at Perth Airport next week, will not store images, they cannot be transmitted and are deleted as soon as staff clear the passenger. The body scanners were tested on more than 23,000 passengers last year in Sydney and Melbourne. Passengers scanned by the L-3 millimetre-wave body scanner are exposed to exceptionally low levels of electromagnetic energy, according to the Department of Infrastructure and Transport.
According to a report, the levels are thousands of times lower than those generated by a single phone call. One body scanner will be installed at the International Terminal, near the exisiting walk-through metal detectors. Passengers will be selected randomly to pass through the body scanner or a walk-through metal detector.
Perth Airport said that during the redevelopment works, the security area would be expanded and two extra body scanners would be installed. Works to expand the security screening will be completed in 2014.
Perth Airport chief executive Brad Geatches said: “Body scanners add another dimension to the security screening process and we are working co-operatively with the Australian Government to ensure a smooth introduction of the technology.”
The scanners virtually replace the need for any invasive body search. Overseas experience shows passengers overwhelmingly prefer the body scanners.