Newcastle Airport trials full body scanners for domestic flights

By Chris Chamberlin, December 1 2016
Newcastle Airport trials full body scanners for domestic flights

Passengers travelling domestically from Newcastle Airport may now be asked to skip the traditional metal detector in favour of a full body scan as part of a new trial.

But unlike those jetting abroad, domestic flyers have the opportunity to ‘opt-out’ and proceed through the metal detector as normal, rather than a body scan being compulsory if selected.

Travellers may also wish to ‘opt-in’ for the scanner, speeding up the time spent at security for those with metal plates and pins in their bodies which would normally alarm metal detection equipment and require physical pat downs from security staff.

In partnership with manufacturer Rodhe & Schwarz and Australian partner SX Technologies, Newcastle Airport’s trial serves to test a brand new design of millimetre wave body scanner: one which doesn’t require enclosed surroundings, any rotating elements or even the passenger’s arms to be raised.

Privacy has also been considered, with the scanner producing a generic stick figure graphic to indicate the location of any suspect items, rather than security staff viewing the actual scan images captured by the device.

Passengers that don't alarm the machine will instead be cleared straight through, with staff moving on to the next traveller.

Newcastle Airport’s trial runs until mid-December, after which, normal security procedures will be restored at the airport and testing of the scanner will continue at selected destinations across Asia.

“While we have no immediate plans to install the body scanners once the trial is over… it’s definitely in the mix for any future security enhancements we may look at,” a Newcastle Airport spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller.

“Currently, there is no legislative requirement for body scanners in domestic airports,” the spokesperson continued. “Any decision to enhance our security outcomes in the future would be dependent on security regulation compliance.”

Full body scanners have an advantage over traditional walk-through metal detectors in that they can locate both metallic and non-metallic threats, such as wooden knives, and when utilised for international passengers, can also detect concealed liquids, aerosols and gels which may be in excees of the usual allowances.

There’s no change to domestic security requirements or procedures at any other Australian domestic airports, or for international travellers from Australia who are already chosen at random for a compulsory full body scan.

Also read: The future of airports: one-stop security, passport control?

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2015

Total posts 44

The addition of another security lane is a plus. The current two lanes get very congested at peak times.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2015

Total posts 44

I also just noticed the photo of the scanner itself is quite funny as it says "Newcastle International" on the side of the scanner which is interesting as although NTL has been built for international flights in its latest refurbishment there are no current international services and also the background isnt even NTL.

It's the image Newcastle Airport (Australia) provided to us, although the logo used on the side of the body scanner is actually that of Newcastle International Airport in England, UK: likely by mistake.

But, to confirm, this story relates to an Australian trial at Newcastle Airport in Williamtown, NSW, Australia.

To update: we've received a new image of the scanner with the correct logo, and of the 'stick figure' screens produced by this machine, so have updated these in the article.

"Privacy has also been considered, with the scanner producing a generic stick figure graphic to indicate the location of any suspect items, rather than security staff viewing the actual scan images captured by the device." ---> This shows Australia has more common sense than others! 


hopefully all the high traffic  domestic airports gets this scanner. 

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 995

Why? Body scanners are utterly useless and nothing more then a paranoid waste of money.

(also, no country using body scanners currently that I'm aware of have the raw image being checked. The only reason TSA got rid of the backscatter body scanners is because the manufactuer was unable to get a gumby figure overlay working.)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

Hopefully this doesn't go as far as the TSA and by the looks of it, it won't.


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