Page last updated at 18:20 GMT, Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Body scanners to be used at Dutch airport

A man stands inside a body scanner as an image is displayed on a screen at Schiphol airport
The image is supposed to show concealed items on the body

Body scanners are to be used on all passengers flying from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport to the US, the Dutch government has announced.

Some machines will be used straight away and others within weeks, the Dutch interior minister said, four days after a man boarded a flight with explosives.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had passed through airport security without raising concerns.

Nigeria has also said it will begin using full body scanners.

Mr Abdulmutallab arrived in Amsterdam from Lagos, Nigeria, before transferring to his flight for Detroit.

He was charged on arrival in the US with attempting to destroy a plane.

Metal detectors did not detect any explosives on him before he boarded the 25 December flight to Detroit, Dutch Interior Minister Guusje Ter Horst said.

The explosive material was apparently sewn into his underwear.

Initial investigations found he had used the explosive PETN and a syringe filled with liquid.

Only one item of hand luggage, including items bought airside
BA and Virgin Atlantic not charging to check in extra hand luggage
Check in wrapped presents
Passengers subject to "pat-down" searches before boarding, on top of usual security checks
Customers to remain seated during final hour of flight
No access to hand luggage and a ban on leaving possessions or blankets on laps during this hour

He suffered burns when he allegedly attempted to detonate the bomb while sitting in his seat about 20 minutes before landing.

Schiphol airport already has 15 body scanners, but privacy concerns have restricted their use.

However, Ms Ter Horst said new software would upgrade the machine to display a stylised image of a passenger's body rather than the exact contours.

The machines would detect objects concealed in pockets or under clothing, she said.

Even so, she warned there was still a chance that Mr Abdulmutallab would have been able to pass through.

"Our view now is that the use of millimetre wave scanners would certainly have helped detect that he had something on his body, but you can never give 100% guarantees," she said.

Mr Abdulmutallab passed through security checks as he had a valid Nigerian passport and a valid US visa.

His name was not on any Dutch list of terror suspects, officials said.

In Nigeria, the head of the Civil Aviation Authority said full body scanners would be acquired for all the country's international airports in the New Year.

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