Prague Airport plans to implement detection controls for trace elements of explosives inside baggage checked for transport in aircraft cargo holds effective May 2017. As a result, airport Security Control workers will be able to open baggage and check the contents. The new process is, following the implementation of explosive trace detection on people and in carry-on baggage (September 2015), the next step towards increased passenger safety. The change will not affect the time needed for passenger security control.
By implementing the new process, Václav Havel Airport Prague joins a number of airports around the world which already perform similar controls inside checked baggage. Passengers know these controls from both American airports and airports around Europe, e.g. in Germany, Austria, Belgium and Switzerland. To facilitate the implementation of the process at Prague’s airport, a new secured station has been created with CCTV and due technical features. A group of trained specialists has been formed to perform the controls. Co-operation with baggage manufacturers and manufacturers of safety locks has also been set up to ensure airport workers can open most baggage without damaging it.
The course of the physical inspection is as follows: The Security Control worker opens the baggage and obtains a control sample by swabbing its contents. The sample is then checked in a detection device for possible contamination with explosives. The entire process will take place at a specialised post under uninterrupted camera surveillance. Detailed records will be kept of every inspection. “The entire process of baggage opening, sample obtaining, evaluation and baggage closing takes about 10 minutes and is performed without the baggage owner present. Thus, it does not influence the checking in and security control of passengers,” Milan Špaček, Member of the Prague Airport Board of Directors responsible for the area of airport safety, described the process, adding: “During current operations, we inspect dozens of pieces of baggage a day either randomly or as a target. Passengers are notified that the baggage has been subjected to a control by adhesive tape securing the baggage after the control. A note is also placed into each inspected piece of baggage with a description of the inspection and instructions for next steps if necessary.”
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