Incheon airport to detect dangerous items through smart security inspection zone

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : April 6, 2022, 18:02 Updated : April 7, 2022, 10:47

[Courtesy of Incheon International Airport Corporation]

SEOUL -- South Korea's main gateway in the western port city of Incheon will establish a smart security inspection system that can detect dangerous items without having passengers take out laptops and liquid materials. Through the adoption of state-of-the-art equipment including body inspection detectors and X-ray computed tomography (CT), various portable items can be identified quickly in a smart inspection zone. 

Currently, Incheon International Airport inspects passengers' belongings at each departure gate. The smart security zone incorporates advanced technologies such as advanced body search detectors, X-ray CT and an auto tray return system (ATRS) to effectively search for portable items. Airport operators will demonstrate the smart system until mid-September before expanding it gradually to all departure and transfer sites by 2025.

CT refers to a computerized X-ray imaging procedure. X-ray CT is a non-destructive technique for visualizing interior features within solid objects, and for obtaining digital information on their 3-D geometries and properties. High-resolution 3D images generated by CT enable operators to make more accurate assessments.

ATRS collects and sterilizes baskets used for inspection and gives them back to passengers. Body search detectors can find out non-metallic materials using millimeter waves, which are the extremely high-frequency band. Clothing and other organic materials are transparent to millimeter waves of certain frequencies. Security scanners using millimeter waves can detect weapons and other dangerous objects carried under clothing. 

"Through the establishment of impeccable security system, we will provide safe and convenient airport services to passengers as well as securing competitiveness in the post-COVID-19 global market," Incheon International Airport Corp. (IIAC) CEO Kim Kyung-wook said in a statement on April 6. 

A total of 13.7 billion won ($11.2 million) will be invested to demonstrate the smart inspection system, IIAC spokesperson Kim Deok-hwa told Aju Business Daily. The integrated smart inspection zone is the latest in a series of measures that South Korean airport operators have taken to enhance security scanning. 

Many airports across the world maintain strict security checks, with passengers forced to empty pockets before going through metal detectors, while bags are put through a scanner. Sometimes, passengers have to remove their shoes for a thorough inspection.

As one of the world's best airports, the airport in Incheon has polished its reputation as a smart and connected airport since it opened the second terminal furnished with artworks, guiding robots, digital screens and other modern facilities for quick safety clearance in January 2018. The first terminal had been rated the world's best, cleanest, and best international transit airport for 12 consecutive years.

The second terminal features automated machines that speed up check-ins and boarding. Security check procedures were simplified with super-high frequency scanners minimizing human intervention. The airport has embarked on the expansion of facilities and infrastructure to provide customized services that utilize big data, virtual reality and other new technologies.
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