New York’s JFK terminal 3 is bulking up on security equipment to fight terrorism – and catch people who forgot to throw away their water bottle. And it’s not the only airport doing so – providers of this technology are reeling in profits from airport overhauls around the globe. Now if only they could do something about the security staff.
01 Metal detector
Founded in 1962 in Ohio, CEIA has produced metal detectors (walk-through, portable and hand-held) since the 1970s. Following September 11 it became almost mandatory in the US for passengers to remove their shoes at security, so the firm also developed the SAMD Shoe Analyzer, which reduces the time it takes to examine shoes manually.
02 Body Imaging
American Science & Engineering (AS&E)
In business for 50 years, Boston-based AS&E leads the field in X-ray body imaging. Its Z Backscatter technology sees through clothes, even identifying objects such as ceramic knives and plastic guns. The body scan is still voluntary in the US but 90 per cent of passengers say they prefer it to being physically frisked.
03 Security officer
Created after 9/11, the Transport Security Administration employs 1,921 officers at JFK who deal with hand luggage and checked-in bag screening. Officers at every checkpoint are kept on their toes on a daily basis by inspectors who test them by trying to smuggle improvised explosive devices and weapons into the terminal.
04 Baggage scanner
Smiths Detection Smiths Detection, based in the UK, manufactures sensors that identify explosives, chemical and biological agents, weapons, and contraband. The TSA (US Transport Security Administration) has placed €55m-worth of orders since October 2007 – one was for hi-tech X-ray systems that capture multiple views of carry-on bags.
05 TSA uniforms
What do an NBA basketball player, a chef and a TSA officer have in common? They all wear uniforms by VF Imagewear, a branch of VF Corporation, the world’s largest clothing company. The powerhouse had an annual turnover of $7bn (€5bn) in 2007. Its portfolio includes brands such as The North Face, Vans, Eastpak and Lee jeans.
06 Rubber gloves
The medical grade high-risk blue gloves worn by TSA officers to search luggage are made by Central Industries by special agreement with the New York-based Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The gloves are made of nitril rubber, which is better than latex at protecting against chemicals and needles.
07 Floor mats
TSA officers typically stand for eight hours during a shift, which is why they are provided with Anti-Fatigue Mats. These work by encouraging the subtle movement of leg muscles, which pumps blood back up to the heart. Wearwell was founded in 1950 by two men, who decided to convert old discarded tyres into high-quality door mats
08 Queue barrier
British company Tensator revolutionised queueing by inventing the Tensabarrier, a post with retractable belts, in the 1970s. The leader in “queue management” now boasts headquarters in Milton Keynes (UK) and branches in New York, Frankfurt, Wroclaw (Poland) and Dubai. Further offices are planned for Mumbai and Shanghai.