IATA: First Mock-Up of Checkpoint of the Future
August 11, 2011
International Air Transport Association (IATA) unveiled the first
mock-up of a Checkpoint of the Future, designed to enhance security
while reducing queues and intrusive searches at airports, using
intelligence-driven risk-based measures.
“We spend $7.4 billion a year to keep aviation secure. But our
passengers only see hassle. Passengers should be able to get from curb
to boarding gate with dignity. That means without stopping, stripping or
unpacking, and certainly not groping. That is the mission for the
Checkpoint of the Future. We must make coordinated investments for
civilized flying,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and
The main concepts of the Checkpoint are (1) strengthened security by
focusing resources where risk is greatest, (2) supporting this
risk-based approach by integrating passenger information into the
checkpoint process, and (3) maximizing throughput for the vast majority
of travelers who are deemed to be low risk with no compromise on
“Today’s checkpoint was designed four decades ago to stop hijackers
carrying metal weapons. Since then, we have grafted on more complex
procedures to meet emerging threats. We are more secure, but it is time
to rethink everything. We need a process that responds to today’s
threat. It must amalgamate intelligence based on passenger information
and new technology. That means moving from a system that looks for bad
objects, to one that can find bad people,” said Bisignani.
How does it work?
The Checkpoint of the Future ends the one-size-fits-all concept for
security. Passengers approaching the checkpoint will be directed to one
of three lanes: ‘known traveler’, ‘normal’, and ‘enhanced security’. The
determination will be based on a biometric identifier in the passport or
other travel document that triggers the results of a risk assessment
conducted by government before the passenger arrives at the airport.
The three security lanes will have technology to check passengers
according to risk. “Known travelers” who have registered and completed
background checks with government authorities will have expedited
access. “Normal screening” would be for the majority of travelers. And
those passengers for whom less information is available, who are
randomly selected or who are deemed to be an “Elevated risk” would have
an additional level of screening.
Screening technology is being developed that will allow passengers to
walk through the checkpoint without having to remove clothes or unpack
their belongings. Moreover, it is envisioned that the security process
could be combined with outbound customs and immigration procedures,
further streamlining the passenger experience.
Through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), 19
governments, including the United States, are working to define
standards for a Checkpoint of the Future. IATA is also coordinating
closely with the US Department of Homeland Security’s Checkpoint of
Tomorrow program which has similar goals.
“We have the ability to move to the biometric scanning and three-lane
concept right now. And while some of the technology still needs to be
developed, even by just re-purposing what we have today, we could see
major changes in two or three years time,” said Bisignani.