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Aviation Wake-up Call

by msecadm4921

After the downing of two Russian civil aircraft by terrorist bombs, QRSciences, an Australian explosive detection firm, has called on regulators and the aviation industry to place much more importance on checkpoint screening.

The events of this past week represent yet another wake-up call to both regulators and the aviation industry that checkpoint screening is the real Achilles Heel of the security system, says Kevin Russeth, Chief Executive Officer, QRSciences Limited.

“Seemingly those who carried out this terrible act did so using explosives containing Hexogen (also known as RDX), which is readily detectable with the correct equipment. Had such equipment been in use at Domodedovo Airport in Moscow there is a strong possibility that this tragedy would have been prevented.” QRSciences says that it with others remains concerned about weaknesses in checkpoint screening, specifically the limited application of a readily available explosive detection capability which significantly weakens the global civil aviation security system and puts the lives of air crew and passengers at risk. In its final report, the US 9/11 Commission strongly supported this belief, stating that while checkpoint screening is considered the most important and obvious layer of security, many deadly and dangerous items are “hard to distinguish in an X-ray machine from innocent everyday items.”

Standard X-rays

“The small amounts of high explosives needed to cause such devastation are nigh on impossible to detect by the standard X-ray devices commonly used to screen passenger hand baggage at checkpoints. For this reason we believe it is incumbent upon regulators and the industry to move fast and introduce a complementary explosive detection capability at the checkpoint which screens every piece of hand luggage being taken aboard aircraft for the presence of such compounds,” says Norman Shanks, former Security Manager at Heathrow airport. QRSciences recently announced availability of a Nuclear Quadrupole Resonance (NQR) system for use at airport checkpoints.

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