The next time you catch a flight from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), be ready to pass through a full body scanner. Or refuse it early enough.

As of now, going through the full-body scanner is only voluntary as the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) feels that some people may be uncomfortable with the full-body image it produces.

As part of enhanced security and counter-terror measures, full-body scanners were made operational at the IGI airport from Monday for a month-and-a-half trial basis, reported Times Of India.

b’IGI Airport/Source: Reuters’

And this is for the first time such a scanner, till now opposed over privacy concerns, has been installed and made operational for a trial at any civil airport in India.

Here’s all you need to know about it:

  • The machine scans a person in few seconds when he or she stands in stationary position at the designated spot inside a box, which is connected to a monitor, and analysed by a trained CISF personnel.
b’A full-body scanner. Representative image/Source: Reuters’
  • The scanner works by way of ‘targeted search’ and looks out for prohibited items that can be concealed in the body like liquid gels, plastic items, ceramics, cutters, recording devices and mettalic and non-mettalic items like knives and other weapons.
  • The scanner, procured from a German firm, works on the Millimetre Wave (MMW) Technology which does not give out the exact body contours of a flier under inspection at the scanner but puts out a ‘generic mannequin’ figure depicting only metallic and non-metallic objects on an individual’s body.
b’Officer monitoring the scans. Representational image/Source: Reuters’
  • In case, there is some suspicion about a flier, he or she will made to undergo full body frisking, also called pat down search, by a CISF official, else they can just walk out of the scanning box to catch their flight.
  • The manufacturers of the machine claim that the rays emitted from the scanner are less harmful than X-rays as they do not penetrate through the body.
  • The machine can handle around 250-300 fliers in an hour and its operating system and software can be tuned as per the requirements of Indian security protocols.