The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced their initial measure to counter the laptop threat: Electronic Trace Detection (ETD) of all laptops going to the USA from all international destinations.
So, continuing from our previous blog post, how will airlines and airports tackle this demand operationally?
We see three options:
Option 1: Performing ETD at the security checkpoint for US-bound passengers
Option 2: Performing ETD on all laptops at the security checkpoint
Option 3: Performing ETD at the gate for US flights
The first option quickly falls apart for two apparent reasons. First, a passenger could buy a non-US ticket and pass through Security on that ticket while boarding a US flight. Secondly, have a laptop handed over in the secure area from another passenger.
Performing ETD on all laptops at the security checkpoint will be an operational nightmare and will not be feasible. It would require significant investments in added equipment and added staff with the right certification. So that leaves Option 3.
Performing ETD at gate operationally requires two primary functions:
- Full security screening of all passengers
- Closed holdrooms
The full security screening is required to determine if a passenger is carrying a laptop. The laptop must then subsequently go through ETD.
The closed holdrooms are required to make sure passengers do not mix after they have been screened for having a laptop.
These functions will severely challenge most airports as the infrastructure to perform these functions are not in place. Even with significant investments, we are skeptical towards an actual implementation of the DHS requirements.
We will surely watch this development – stay tuned.
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