what are they and how do they work?

what are they and how do they work?

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Sydney Airport has just started using 3D body CT scanners at its Qantas domestic terminal, T3. Although CT scanners have been widely used in international terminals in Australia for several years and are installed at Melbourne’s T4 terminal and Gladstone and Canberra airports, it is the first time that many passengers have seen the technology at a domestic airport.

What are scanners and how do they work?

These are large tubes that passengers are invited to step into, before raising their arms as the machine rotates around them. They use non-ionizing millimeter-wave imaging to scan a person, looking for anything they might be carrying under their clothing. They are capable of detecting both metallic and non-metallic items.

Related: Australian border force has searched over 40,000 mobile devices in five years, data shows

The airport security team is presented with a generic sketch of a person, with areas of interest highlighted in square boxes. Melbourne Airport says no individual scans or personal information is stored or transmitted by the scanners.

CT scanners are also used for carry-on luggage.

Why are they being brought in?

In 2018, then Interior Minister Peter Dutton announced that airports would be forced to stop using metal detectors, with budgetary funding earmarked for regional airports.

This came a year after two brothers planned to blow up a passenger plane with a bomb hidden in a meat grinder.

“We are concerned about different devices going through the scanner that would not be picked up at the time,” Dutton told Melbourne radio station 3AW in 2018. “We are concerned about gels. We are concerned about harmful gases, all kinds of things that potentially go undetected.”

Dutton said the new scanners would be rolled out “within the next two years”, but it took four years for a checkpoint at a terminal at Australia’s busiest domestic airport to obtain the technology.

Guardian Australia understands that the other checkpoints at T3 in Sydney will be upgraded with the same technology by the end of the year.

How much is it costing?

The Australian Airports Association estimates the cost of the upgrade to be $2 billion. In a pre-budget presentation this year, he said the size, scope and scale of the upgrade, along with the pandemic’s effect on the airline industry, had made the project more complex for Australia’s 10 largest airports, and called on the federal government for funding. to offset the cost.

Will they make getting through airport security faster?

In theory, yes. Computed tomography means that passengers will no longer need to remove laptops, aerosols and other items from their carry-on baggage at security checkpoints. But they will still need to remove jackets and other clothing.

Last week, ABC reporter Louise Milligan tweeted about her experience of being forced to remove a tight-fitting jacket. and said others complained about “heavy” security.

Sydney airport declined to comment, but security contractor Certis Security told Guardian Australia that removal of coats and jackets was a requirement and referred questions to the regulator, the Center for Cyber ​​and Infrastructure Security.

In practice, delays are still likely at airports due to ongoing staff shortages, so scanners are unlikely to waste time for quite some time.

Can I refuse to go through one?

While exceptions are made for people who have medical or physical conditions that prevent them from going through body scanners, airports will refuse to allow you into the terminal if you do not comply.

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