Body scan at Bahrain airport ‘likely’
Manama, July 8, 2010
Bahrain could introduce controversial full body airport scanners as part of efforts to beef up security, a top airport official said.
'We are still in discussions with several international suppliers on what we need and what we should get,' a Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) official said.
Even as officials discussed ways of strengthening the country's main entry point with all options were open, they have not ruled out the possibility of full body scanning equipment being brought in, he said.
He declined to comment on the fact Dubai has already ruled out introducing full body scanners, saying they contradict Islam and restrict the privacy and personal freedom of passengers.
However, the official said the latest state-of-the-art technology would be used in Bahrain, in keeping with international standards.
Full body scanners have already been deployed in the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Italy, among other countries.
Around 1,000 full-body scanners are due to be operational in US airports by the end of next year, according to reports.
Some countries, such as the Netherlands and the UK, are attempting to further address privacy concerns by digitally blurring the images of passengers' faces while other countries store passengers' images for only 24 hours before deleting them.
New and enhanced security measures became operational at Bahrain International Airport in April after devices capable of scanning airline passengers' baggage for explosives were introduced.
The country became only the second in the Gulf to introduce special machines now enable 3,000 pieces of baggage to be handled an hour and have eliminated the need for conventional x-ray machines.
The new screening system uses advanced security technology and processes, meaning luggage can go through up to five levels of checks to ensure no prohibited items are brought aboard an aircraft.
A BAC official said earlier there was continuous co-ordination with the Interior Ministry to ensure the optimal utilisation of the new system. – TradeArabia News Service