Guernsey Airport hopes improvements will address passenger complaints7th June 2019
Guernsey Airport is looking to introduce new technology that could reduce the requirement for physical bag checks at Guernsey Airport and help address concerns raised by passengers.
In the last 12 months the UK Civil Aviation Authority, who advise the Channel Islands Director of Civil Aviation (the DCA) on security matters, has carried out a review of processing of passengers at Guernsey Airport. This has resulted in more stringent requirements being applied for searches of people and cabin baggage, to comply with the UK aviation regulatory standards.
General Manager - Ports Colin Le Ray said this had presented significant challenges for airport management and its security contractor, G4S. However both parties recognise that as a result service levels had fallen at times, and are committed to addressing this.
"We are conscious of the concerns that have been expressed, whether as a result of queues being been experienced at peak times and the additional search requirements, which some passengers have found intrusive. We apologise to anyone who has been affected by these issues and we are working very hard with G4S to improve the situation swiftly."
Mr Le Ray said new security screening procedures have to be introduced in response to more stringent compliance monitoring being applied by the aviation regulator. This included more frequent and more thorough searches of cabin baggage.
To improve this, additional customer service training is to be provided for security staff, bolstered by follow-up site visits by trainers.
"While it may at times seem disproportionate, we are obliged to comply with national and international aviation regulations. Failure to do so could result in our security permit being suspended, which would halt flights, and that is unthinkable. However there are changes that we can make to improve the situation. The same regulatory standards apply throughout the UK, but how they are implemented is influenced by the physical equipment available at each airport. In the case of Guernsey we currently have relatively basic x-ray machine to screen cabin baggage."
"We are now looking at options for replacing these with more modern screening systems and other technology, such as body scanners. These will not remove entirely the requirement for body and bag searches, but would reduce them significantly. At the same time we would look at other improvements to help smooth the customer journey, such as self-return trays."
The current issues are not related to the recent changes to the layout of Guernsey Airport, however Mr Le Ray said it does provide the opportunity for improvement.
"The changes have created additional space and headroom to accommodate this more modern technology."
Picture: Guernsey Airport.