02 Feb

ABTA encourages Members to advise customers on new security developments

ABTA the Travel Association is advising Members on the introduction of body scanners at Heathrow and Manchester airports today, following the Transport Secretary of State Lord Adonis’ written ministerial statement presented to the House of Commons.

The ministerial statement confirmed that the scanners were introduced at Heathrow and Manchester airports this week and that they will be introduced at Birmingham airport this month, with roll-out at other airports in the coming months.

The Secretary of State for Transport announced that while the security situation has meant that the introduction of the scanners has gone ahead, the Government will consult publicly on their use.

“In the immediate future, only a small proportion of airline passengers will be affected by the new scanners,” said ABTA’s Chief Executive Mark Tanzer. “Passengers need to be confident when they fly. It is important that new security measures are introduced proportionately and correctly so that the privacy and dignity of passengers are not compromised. We will continue to help our members to inform their customers of any new developments, so that they know what to expect when they arrive at airports.”

The Department of Transport has introduced an Interim Code of Practice covering privacy, health and safety, data protection and equality issues, and will launch a public consultation on the use of scanners prior to preparing a Final Code of Practice later in the year.

The key points in the Interim Code are:
• A person selected for screening may request the screen reader is of the same sex
• The screener must not be able to see the person whose image they are screening
• Immediately the scanning analysis is completed and the passenger moves away, all images must be destroyed
• Staff undertaking the screening must be properly trained
• If a passenger selected for screening declines to be screened, they will not be allowed to fly
• Passengers must not be selected on the basis of personal characteristics i.e. gender, age, race or ethnic origin