Cape Town - OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg has made history on the continent in becoming the first African airport to implement a new Smart Security system.
A new screening booth for international passengers departing OR Tambo is set to start a pilot implementation from Tuesday, 8 November.
It aims to digitise the security check process and should help speed up passenger progress through security.
Using the new Smart Security system, passengers will no longer be required to unpack laptops and other electronics, which OR Tambo says will speed up security checks significantly.
Physical checks are also no longer required when using the new system. "It does NOT show the body underneath clothing," the airport says. "The screen for the full-body scans shows security an avatar that looks like an outline of a person. This means far fewer physical searches and pat-downs."
"We have become the first African airport to implement #SmartSecurity checkpoints that will digitise the security check process, speed up passenger progress through security and further enhance security through use of state-of-the-art scanners," the airport says.
You can see how the system works here:
Airports Company South Africa (Acsa), which manages the airport, said the new system should also help enhance security. The Department of Health in SA has also approved the new system, OR Tambo says.
According to the airport, the first change passengers will notice when going through security is a turnstile before entering the security area, where boarding passes will be verified electronically before passengers are allowed to proceed to the scanning area.
The pilot of the Smart Security checkpoint will run until the end of January 2017, when its effectiveness will be assessed and possible improvements identified.
The implementation of the new screening systems comes in the midst of another airport security change on the other side of the airport. New biometric data capturing systems at all SA's major international airports' immigration counters are causing delays for many international passengers.
Despite this, the DHA insist that the implementation of biometric data capturing will ease immigration operations in future, as it will pave the way for e-visas, self-check-in counters and other advanced immigration operations.
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They say that current issues are mere growing pains to achieving more secure and technologically operated systems.
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