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“Terrorists have targeted airports on several occasions and are actively seeking suitable weaknesses in the global aviation system,” said the UK Department for Transport’s (DfT) head of aviation security Kashif Chaudry. In order to prevent future terrorist attacks and potential bomb threats, countries worldwide must collaborate to beef up security systems in airports and use modern technologies such as AI.

“We want to be able to upgrade the algorithms to actually meet new challenges,” he added.

“At the moment, we are very much about a one-size-fits-all approach. The challenge for us in the future is how we can be more data-driven, make better use of artificial intelligence and take risk-based judgement that actually enables us to provide additional scrutiny.”

Terrorists are developing more innovative techniques, and are getting increasingly “sophisticated” in their plans. “To avoid future attacks, we cannot just rely upon what we’ve used in the past. Given how terrorist attacks at airports have been happening for more than five decades, we have to be more agile.”

He said it is imperative to find a security measure that can be sustained for as long as necessary, stressing that for better aviation security “you need technology”.

Chaudry affirmed that In August this year, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all UK airports would be required to use 3D scanning by December 2022, meaning passengers would no longer need to remove liquids and electronic equipment from cabin baggage. Having already been trialled at Heathrow Airport, this technology can even scan explosives in liquid bottles. He added that modern 3D screening equipment, which could also be used for check-in baggage, “need to be adaptable and upgradable” and not something “that becomes defunct and discarded in a matter of years”.

A key element in improving airport security is the need to pin down potential “insider threats”, according to “Your staff need to be scanned, checked and have had background checks because that gives the assurance they will not use our knowledge to compromise us,” he noted.