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Dunedin airport launches first body imaging screening in NZ

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Dunedin Airport will lead the country’s aviation security screening for domestic services from today, with the launch of advanced imaging technology - commonly known as body scanners - as part of the opening of stage one of its terminal expansion project.

Designed to improve airport security in line with international best practice, Dunedin Airport is the first in the country to introduce the state-of-the-art equipment into its domestic jet aircraft services. The technology was first installed at Auckland Airport’s international terminal in June, but domestic passengers on jet flights from Dunedin will be the first travelling within New Zealand to go through this modern security screening.

The technology uses millimetre-wave (mmW) technology to provide an automatic, electronic means of detecting concealed objects, ensuring New Zealand is meeting the challenges of today’s changing threat environment. The implementation of the new body scanners and smart lane X-ray equipment for screening baggage is part of a $100 million Aviation Security Service project to bring world-leading security technology to all New Zealand’s international airports.

The new expanded security screening area - a 157% increase in floor area - and temporary departure lounge, will also reduce passenger queues and create a dedicated space for passenger screening at the increasingly busy airport.

Dunedin Airport CEO Richard Roberts says today’s opening marks the completion of stage one of the airport’s ambitious terminal expansion project designed to meet growing demands.

"We’re delighted to welcome passengers into our expanded security screening area, which we are confident will reduce waiting time and make for a more pleasurable experience for passengers going through security screening.

"It’s also exciting that we’re the first airport to offer the new [body scanning] technology for our domestic flights - a technology well used overseas - which puts Dunedin at the forefront of aviation security in this country."

Aviation Security Service Group Operations Manager Karen Urwin says the new technology takes passenger screening to a new level, beyond the existing screening systems.

"These scanners are tried and tested at airports around the world, are safe for passengers, and only display a generic outline of a person, meaning there are no privacy concerns arising from their use.

"Many people who have travelled internationally will be familiar with AIT screening. It’s the logical next step in meeting the security challenges we face and ensuring we keep passengers safe."

The new temporary departure space also includes a more spacious area with seating and stand-up desks and charging stations designed for today’s traveller.

Since the current terminal was built in 2006, Dunedin Airport has seen a significant increase in passenger numbers to more than one million passengers per year (a growth of 47%) and a 46% rise in the number of jets into the airport - now close to 1750.

In peak hours, passenger numbers exceed 500 - a 71% rise from 2006 - which places pressure on the space available in the terminal.

Once completed in February 2020, the new terminal will see an almost 200% increase in floor space to the departure area - with new toilets, café, and retail spaces - as well as 200 additional parks in the carparking area.

The lead architect for the project is Wellington-based CCM Architects - the team behind the master plan for Dunedin Hospital - with support from Baker Garden Architects, the designers of Toitu Otago Settlers Museum and Mercy Hospital. The project is being managed by Signal Management Group.

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