Passengers in Britain could clear airport security in as little as five seconds under plans for a sophisticated new screening system that would not require them to remove their personal belongings.

The 21 feet long smart tunnel combines all existing and imminent security technology in one place and would slash the time passengers wait at airports, says a report in The Passengers would simply walk the length of the tunnel while they are scanned.

A version is expected to be trialled within 18 months and could be rolled out at major airports within five years, says the report.
Currently the aviation industry allows 30 seconds for passengers to pass through the existing security system, the report says, but this time only allows for walking through the detector, removing shoes and belts, placing metal objects in a separate container and producing liquids for inspection. It does not take into account the time passengers spend putting gathering their belongings afterwards, nor the time they have to queue before reaching the metal detector in the first place.

A prototype of the new technology was unveiled in Singapore by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents the world’s major airlines. It features screening methods which are either already commonplace at airports - such as body scanners - and those which are expected to be introduced soon, including liquid detectors.

The Association hopes trials of a cut-down version of the arch, with at least some of the screening operations, could start at a couple of major airports by the end of next year, the report says.