If you’ve ever travelled by plane, you’ll know all too well how stress-inducing, tedious and often undignified going through airport security can be.
In 2018, an estimated 292 million passengers travelled through UK airports alone. That’s 292 million people who would have had their bags scanned and their passports checked before even setting foot in the departure lounge.
With such a high volume of travellers coming through daily, airport authorities all around the world have the challenging job of ensuring the safety of all passengers.
While almost all airports have ramped up their security in recent years due to terrorism and a slew of other safety concerns, some airports have far stricter protocols than others.
Considered one of the safest airports in the world, Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel also has some of the strictest security controls. This airport features many layers of security, only some of which are visible to the millions of passengers making their way through the airport annually.
No flight leaving the airport has ever been hijacked, and there has not been a terrorist attack at Ben Gurion since 1972 — proving that investing in robust security pays off.
Typically speaking, airports in Saudi Arabia are also considered to have some of the strictest security controls in the world. This is largely due to the fact security tends to begin before passengers even reach the airport in this region.
Long wait times
In Europe, stricter controls to assure passenger safety have been introduced in light of recent security issues and terror threats in multiple countries. However, these measures have resulted in longer wait times becoming increasingly common in security screening zones around Europe.
In Spain, wait times are reported to have exceeded four hours, while security and passport control times at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport often exceed two hours.
Heathrow saw about 80 million passengers embark on their journeys in 2018, but many were left dissatisfied with the long wait times — which are expected to get even worse after Brexit. As a result, some airlines are now recommending that passengers arrive three to four hours before their scheduled flight time.
However, it would be unfair to suggest it is only Europe where airport security is, at times, struggling to keep up with the throng of passengers coming through.
Elsewhere in the world, many larger US airports such as Los Angeles International, Newark and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta — which, as the busiest in the world, saw over 107 million passengers travelling through in 2018 — are also notorious for keeping travellers waiting for hours at customs.
Although Africa holds a relatively low share of the global aviation market, with an estimated 92 million passengers passing through a year, African airports are experiencing a surge in both domestic and international travel. Many airports across the continent are undergoing maintenance and expansion to help accommodate growing passenger numbers, but there are still concerns they are not equipped to process the increasing volumes safely.
For example, overcrowding and extremely long lines at security are a common problem at Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh airport — with many travellers bemoaning the chaos of departures, as check-in and security lines can take hours to get through.
A smooth process
The aviation industry is highly exposed to a wide range of safety risks and continues to be an attractive target for terrorists: this includes the landside areas of airports.
As such, passengers expect to queue when they get to the airport, and most understand certain regulations need to be adhered to. After all, the security checks are there for their protection. Nevertheless, the process of passing through airport security can be very taxing.
To address these concerns, there is an urgent need to ensure effective and efficient security measures are put in place at airports throughout the world. These measures include the deployment of advanced and reliable screening equipment and safety management systems, as well as practical training. Combined, these solutions will ensure passengers pass through security checks as quickly as possible while maintaining their safety.
2X Systems is committed to providing best-in-class x-ray scanners and robust security systems to meet the requirements of the aviation industry. Contact the team today on
+44 (0) 1420 614141 or at email@example.com to find out more.