ADT Security Services’ recently formed Aviation Group installs QControl(r), a state-of-the-art passe

Fly the friendly skies. We’re all familiar with that popular airline slogan. However, the grim reality is that the skies stopped being friendly a long time ago.

Terrorist acts and the omnipresent threat of such dastardly deeds has made airports and airspace something more closely akin to frightening than friendly. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there were 216 criminal incidents involving attacks against civil aviation worldwide from 1993 to 1997. About 40 percent of the incidents were hijackings, while 50 episodes involved attacks at airports.

Furthermore, precautions taken to reduce the danger, such as more stringent passenger screening processes, have only served to make the already unpleasant task of flying even more arduous by leading to frequent delays and long lines. In recent years, the recommended airport arrival time for departures has gone from one hour to two hours on domestic flights.

It would be one thing if these measures were successful, but at least one major study has found that airport security continues to be unsatisfactory. A recent FAA audit of airport access control by airport operators and air carriers resulted in the successful penetration of secure areas on 117 of 173 attempts (68 percent) from the nonsterile (passengers before screening) and sterile (post-screening) areas of the airport. Among the other findings, 283 of the 392 employees (72 percent) FAA testers encountered in secure areas failed to challenge them for unauthorized access.

Despite these troubling facts, air travel has continued to thrive. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the number of planned passengers has risen steadily since 1991, with more than 614 million people boarding planes in 1998, covering nearly 65 billion miles.

What the aviation industry needs is a thorough, efficient screening system that detects and prevents the influx of weapons or explosives, while enabling the smooth flow of passenger traffic. ADT Security Services Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla., has come up with such a product. The company’s QControl(r) system integrates the entrance and exit areas of airport terminals to create a complete traffic-flow control system.

QControl’s features include: the combination of photo-optic sensors, directional microwave and video motion detection technologies; animated video displays and user-friendly directional lighting; reduction of space and employees required for entry and exit areas; capturing of passengers and baggage on time-lapsed videotape; and a secondary screening area to prevent delays.

ADT gained an avenue for introducing QControl into the aviation industry after being contracted by Miami International Airport (MIA). The facility was to become the world’s first airport to feature the new technology for both inbound and outbound traffic.

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