Located in the north-west of Romania, in the centre of the Transylvania region, Avram Iancu Cluj International Airport is the country’s second largest airport. Pre-pandemic, passenger numbers were steadily rising year on year, reaching just under three million in 2019. Projections estimate this figure could increase by 250% over the coming years.
Prompted by the new ECAC EDS Standard 3 regulations for hold baggage screening, the airport decided to upgrade the six passenger checkpoints at the same time – pioneering the use of ECAC EDS CB C3 approved equipment in Romania and introducing advanced lanes with smart automatic tray return. The objective was to elevate both areas to the highest security levels and provide the key operational benefits needed to efficiently handle a growing passenger base.
Following exacting technical testing and tender procedures, Smiths Detection and its Romanian partner, UTI Facility Management, were chosen to provide the screening equipment and implement the changes. Impressive technical features and successful previous experiences with the suppliers also influenced the decision.
Avram Iancu Cluj International Airport services Transylvania, famous for its medieval towns, mountainous borders and attractions such as Bran Castle, the Gothic fortress associated with the legend of Dracula.
In Romania, the National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control must authorise any X-ray equipment before it can be used – a process starting once the installation is complete and generally taking around two months.
This presented a challenge for UTI’s project management team to find the best way to maintain screening operations with part of the equipment out of action for such an extended period. In addition, work on both the hold and checkpoint systems had to be carried out at the same time without impacting security or screening time.
The answer to the installation challenge was redirecting hold baggage via two existing scanners, which were repositioned on an oversized lane, leaving the way clear to replace the third. At the passenger checkpoints, two of the lanes were left running whilst four were upgraded and awaiting official authorization. The local UTI service team has worked with the airport’s previous Smiths Detection screening equipment for 12 years and that knowledge and technical experience of the site was extremely helpful throughout the installation. After 4 months of set up and testing, the majority of checkpoint lanes and scanners, as well as all hold baggage scanners, were fully operational.
Cluj International Airport chose cutting-edge solutions for both hold baggage and checkpoint screening which not only meet regulatory requirements, but also help improve security and operational efficiency.
State-of-the-art HI-SCAN 6040 CTiX scanners have been integrated into iLane.evo checkpoint lanes. They use Computed Tomography (CT) to examine baggage contents from every angle and generate very precise and detailed 3D images to support more accurate judgements on bag contents. Electronic devices and liquids can remain in hand luggage for screening, resulting in a simpler, faster process and a much improved passenger experience. The automatic tray return system on the iLane.evo also plays a critical role in increasing throughput.
Three of the latest ECAC EDS Standard 3 (and 3.1) approved HI-SCAN 10080 XCT rotating gantry CT scanners were selected to replace the previous, now non-compliant systems for hold baggage screening. These high-speed explosives detection systems feature dual-view, dual-energy X-ray line scanners with full 3D volumetric (CT) imaging and reconstruction. A belt speed of 0.5m/sec (98.5ft/min) and a large 107 x 81 cm (42.1 x 31.9in) rectangular tunnel combine to deliver a throughput of up to 1,800 bags/hour.
“With extensive previous experience of Smiths Detection equipment, we are confident that these new solutions will fully meet the required regulatory standards, the passengers’ very high expectations and the airport’s commitment to improve security and customer services” commented Mr. David Ciceo, Chief Executive Officer of Avram Iancu Cluj International Airport.
With the capacity to handle the projected, post-pandemic growth in passengers, the checkpoint and hold baggage systems will futureproof screening operations. The advanced technology also meets the airport’s demand for superior security standards and more efficient processes.
At the checkpoint, divesting is faster and less cumbersome and requires fewer trays per passenger; and the facility for remote image analysis in a central and calm environment is conducive to faster and more accurate decision making. The new equipment also makes it easier to maintain social distancing and supports a more contactless screening process.
“The new checkpoint technology delivers a very high level of detection, advanced processing capacity and integrated automatic tray management. Reduced waiting times will streamline the flow of baggage and passengers through the checkpoints” added Mr. Nicolae Fechete, Chief Security Officer of Avram Iancu Cluj International Airport. “As well as complying with the latest regulations, the Standard 3 approved CT hold baggage scanners elevate detection and security levels, reduce processing times and increase overall efficiency of the baggage screening and transport system.”