QUT and Brisbane Airport Corporation take lead in improving airport security

Research partners, QUT and Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC),

announced a new, Australian first research project investigating improvements

in passenger screening, aimed at further reducing the risk of prohibited items

passing through the screening point as a result of human error.

Dr Renata Meuter, from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, is currently undertaking a preliminary study to analyse BAC data on the efficiency of passenger screeners.

Dr Meuter is a cognitive psychologist and said with airport traffic increases and threats from terrorism on the rise, it was increasingly important that airport security be as efficient and tight as possible.

“Security staff are at the forefront of ensuring prohibited items are detected through layered technology security measures while at the same time, ensuring the public’s travel experiences of security interventions are positive,” Dr Meuter said.

“The repetitive nature of the tasks undertaken could mean that passenger screening staff may become distracted due to the nature of the surrounding busy airport environment, which creates a potential to occasionally miss an item of interest in the screening process.”

Dr Meuter is looking at a number of factors which may affect staff performance, including demographical characteristics of age and gender, environmental characteristics related to noise surrounding screeners, rostering and rotational timing issues, and various issues associated with experience and personality characteristics which may be more complimentary to such a role.

“For example, people whose personality type requires more stimulation to derive their best performance may not be suited to spending long spans of time monitoring baggage as it is processed through xray equipment – instead they may well be better suited to interacting with people and perhaps their main task should be physical searches,” she said.

BAC General Manager of Operations Stephen Goodwin said the research would play a pivotal role in further improving Airport security standards.

“With this research BAC will have a better understanding of the layered security activities in place and ensure airport employees are working in synergy with their environment. The aim of the results is to provide a safer, more secure airport, with screening staff who are comfortable and productive in their roles, ultimately taking away the stress and anxiety for passengers and allowing them to be more relaxed as they travel.”

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