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Assessment of Technologies Deployed to Improve

Aviation Security: First Report


Panel on Assessment of Technologies Deployed to
Improve Aviation Security, Commission on Engineering
and Technical Systems, National Research Council
ISBN: 0-309-51402-9, 86 pages, 8.5 x 11, (1999)
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Assessment of Technologies Deployed to Improve Aviation Security: First Report
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9726.html

22 ASSESSMENT OF TECHNOLOGIES DEPLOYED TO IMPROVE AVIATION SECURITY

Baggage Handling

The objective of this panel is to assess technologies de- all of these vectors must be secure. However, the focus of
ployed to improve aviation security, both to protect passen- this panel is on passenger carry-on and checked baggage.
ger aircraft from explosives and to protect aircraft from dam- The security devices used to prevent the introduction of ex-
age from an onboard explosion. Explosives can be placed plosives via the typical vectors are shown in Figure 4-1.
aboard an aircraft via several vectors, including baggage. In
this chapter the typical processes for handling carry-on and
MOVEMENT OF BAGGAGE AND CARGO
checked baggage in a secure environment are described, in-
cluding the use of unit-loading devices (ULDs) as a basis for Approximately 50 percent of all passenger baggage is
the discussion of the operational issues for using HULDs carried onto airplanes as carry-on baggage; the other 50 per-
(hardened unit-loading devices) as part of an overall avia- cent is checked at the curb, at the ticket counter, or at the
tion security plan (e.g., TAAS). gate. The actual distribution of baggage varies by type of
The six typical vectors for introducing explosives are: aircraft (see Box 4-1). All carry-on baggage is screened at a
passengers (on person); passenger carry-on baggage; pas- security checkpoint by an x-ray scanner prior to being
senger checked baggage; cargo originating from known, un- brought aboard an aircraft; in some cases, bags are further
known, or consolidated shippers; courier bags; and mail. investigated with a trace explosives-detection device or
More subversive vectors include: crew members (e.g., pilots searched physically (Figure 4-2). Once aboard an aircraft,
or flight attendants); an intentional or accidental security carry-on baggage is stowed by the passenger in an overhead
bypass; food catering service or meal cart; duty-free items; bin or under a seat.
cleaning crew; and service crew (e.g., mechanics, fuelers, Checked baggage is sent to a bag room where it is sorted
baggage handlers). To prevent the introduction of an explosive, in a variety of ways, depending on the airline and airport.

Items Screening

X-ray (radiographic imaging)

Carry-on bags TEDD

Physical search
Passenger baggage

X-ray (radiographic imaging)


Checked bags EDS (computed tomography)
(including courier bags)
K-9 team

FIGURE 4-1 Vectors for introducing explosives and screening tools.

22

Copyright National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


Assessment of Technologies Deployed to Improve Aviation Security: First Report
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9726.html

BAGGAGE HANDLING 23

BOX 4-1
Baggage Distribution

All Aircraft
60 percent of baggage travels in narrow-body aircraft (e.g., Boeing 737, MD-80)
40 percent of baggage travels in wide-body aircraft (e.g., Boeing 747, 767, 777, MD-11)
50 percent of all passenger baggage is checked
50 percent of all passenger baggage is carry-on
80 percent of all passenger baggage travels as bulk (i.e., loose, noncontainerized)
20 percent of passenger baggage travels in containers (i.e., ULDs)

Narrow-Body Aircraft
50 percent of passenger baggage travels as bulk on the passenger deck in overhead bins and under seats
50 percent of passenger baggage travels as bulk in the cargo hold

Wide-Body Aircraft
45 percent of passenger baggage travels as bulk on the passenger deck in overhead bins and under seats
55 percent of passenger baggage travels in containers (ULDs) in the cargo hold

The panel observed the sorting and loading of baggage and the ticket counter,1 the passenger is asked three questions per-
cargo by more than 10 airlines at Los Angeles International taining to the contents and control of the bag (Figure 4-3).
Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and John F. The passenger is also subjected to CAPS (computer-assisted
Kennedy International Airport for various types of aircraft passenger screening). If the passenger is determined by CAPS
and for domestic and international destinations. The pur- to be a selectee, he or she is also subject to PPBM (positive
pose of these observations was to assess the synergy of the passenger-bag matching). The bag will then be loaded di-
baggage-handling system with planned screening procedures rectly onto the plane if it is a narrow-body plane or placed in a
and the feasibility of using HULDs. ULD and loaded onto the plane if it is a wide-body plane. If
Most of the time, checked baggage is sorted either manu- the bag is checked at the gate, PPBM and CAPS are not used.
ally or by automated card readers and routed to the bag However, bags checked at the gate will have been screened by
make-up area for the appropriate flight. In the make-up x-ray radiography and, possibly, trace explosives-detection
area, the bags for a particular flight are gathered, sorted by equipment (Figure 4-4).
class of service and transshipment, and either loaded into a
ULD that is then loaded onto the aircraft (containerized
Passenger with a Checked Bag on an International Flight
method) or loaded manually onto the aircraft one piece at a
time using a baggage cart and conveyer-belt system (bulk A passenger for an international flight usually checks bags
method). The bulk method is mainly used for narrow-body at the ticket counter. The passenger is asked questions per-
aircraft and the containerized method for wide-body aircraft. taining to the contents and control of the bags and is sub-
However, both methods are sometimes used for both types jected to CAPS and PPBM (Figure 4-5). Checked bags are
of aircraft. For example, ULDs are used for a few narrow- then subject to examination by an explosives-detection de-
body aircraft, such as some Airbus A320 and Boeing DC-8 vice or a certified EDS or are physically searched.2 The bags
aircraft.
1 Passengers who check in at the curb or gate are also asked security

questions. If a passenger trying to check bags at the curb is determined to


Passenger with a Checked Bag on a Domestic Flight be a selectee, he or she is asked to check the bags at the ticket counter.
2 Typically this is only applicable to the departure city (the city from
A passenger for a domestic flight can check bags at the which the plane departs for a foreign country) and not for baggage that
curb, the ticket counter, or the gate. If the bag is checked at originates on a domestic flight and is transferred to an international flight.

Copyright National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


Assessment of Technologies Deployed to Improve Aviation Security: First Report
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9726.html

24 ASSESSMENT OF TECHNOLOGIES DEPLOYED TO IMPROVE AVIATION SECURITY

Lobby Ticket Bag Gate


counter room Concourse check-in

Passenger Metal detector Passenger


Conventional x-ray Carry-on bag
Carry-on bag
TEDD

3
questions

Passenger

Carry-on bag

Passenger
deck
ULDs Cargo deck

FIGURE 4-2 Baggage flow and screening for a passenger with only carry-on baggage for a domestic flight.

Ticket Bag Concourse Gate


Lobby counter check-in
room

Passenger 3 Metal detector Passenger


questions
Conventional x-ray Carry-on bag
Carry-on bag
TEDD
CAPS
Checked bag PPBM

Passenger

Carry-on bag
Checked bag

Passenger
deck
ULDs Cargo deck

FIGURE 4-3 Baggage flow and security screening for a passenger with a carry-on bag and a checked bag for a ticket counter check-in for
a domestic flight.

Copyright National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


Assessment of Technologies Deployed to Improve Aviation Security: First Report
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9726.html

BAGGAGE HANDLING 25

Lobby Ticket Bag Gate


Concourse check-in
counter room

Passenger Metal detector Passenger


Carry-on bag Conventional x-ray Carry-on bag
Checked bag TEDD Checked bag

3
Jet-way checked bag Questions
does not get PPBM

Passenger

Checked bag Carry-on bag

Passenger
deck
ULDs Cargo deck

FIGURE 4-4 Baggage flow and security screening for a passenger with a carry-on bag and a checked bag for a gate check-in for a domestic
flight.

Ticket Bag Concourse Gate


Lobby room check-in
counter

Passenger 3 Questions Metal detector Passenger

Conventional x-ray Carry-on bag


Carry-on bag CAPS TEDD
PPBM
Checked bag

Explosives-
detection
equipment
EDS
TEDD
Passenger
Physical Checked bag
search Carry-on bag

Passenger
deck
ULDs Cargo deck

FIGURE 4-5 Baggage flow and security screening for a passenger with a carry-on bag and a checked bag on an international flight.

Copyright National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


Assessment of Technologies Deployed to Improve Aviation Security: First Report
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9726.html

26 ASSESSMENT OF TECHNOLOGIES DEPLOYED TO IMPROVE AVIATION SECURITY

FIGURE 4-6 Typical LD-3 container.

Use of Hardened Unit-Loading Devices


are then loaded directly onto the plane if it is a narrow-body
plane or placed in a ULD and then onto the plane if it is a During the panels airport visits, several procedures and
wide-body plane. practices were observed that could affect the combined use
of security screening devices and HULDs within a defined
TAAS. The method of loading ULDs varies from airline to
UNIT-LOADING DEVICES
airline, and even from airport to airport by the same airline.
The containerized luggage system is used mainly on wide- Some airlines stand the bags up on the floor of the ULD
body aircraft to facilitate the rapid movement and organiza- (Figure 4-6); others lay them flat. All airlines observed by
tion of large quantities of baggage and cargo, minimize on- the panel tried to maximize the bag count in each container
loading and off-loading times, and facilitate transshipments. (i.e., load all the way to the top). However, the bag count can
The basic components of the containerized luggage system vary from 30 to 50 bags per container, depending on the
are ULDs, also referred to as containers or cans (see Figure destination of the flight and the average size of the bags (bag
4-6). ULDs are used to hold, separate, load, and unload size appears to be a function of the local passenger culture
passenger baggage and cargo. They come in a variety of and destination). Most airlines separate bags by transfer
sizes and materials, depending on the application (e.g., type destination, as well as by class (first class, business class,
of load [baggage or cargo], type of aircraft, deck location, and coach class). The first-class and business-class ULDs
and transshipment needs). ULD sizes are distinguished are loaded last and unloaded first. One airline, however, used
mainly by the type of aircraft and are designated by the LD a separate ULD for the bags of CAPS selectees, which was
nomenclature. The construction material of these containers loaded last.
varies from aluminum to polycarbonate to heavy-duty card- All ULDs look and function in similar ways. The loca-
board. In all, there are an estimated 200 or more combina- tion of the ULD doors and accessibility for loading are also
tions of ULD sizes, materials, and manufacturers. The con- similar. If the airline route (e.g., Los Angeles to Sydney,
tainerized luggage system also includes specialized container Australia) is extremely weight sensitive, only lightweight
carts and aircraft loading devices. (e.g., cardboard) ULDs are used. Airlines are very sensitive

Copyright National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


Assessment of Technologies Deployed to Improve Aviation Security: First Report
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9726.html

BAGGAGE HANDLING 27

to the weight issue. For example, contractual requirements baggage travels in bulk cargo holds or in the passenger cabin
with the U.S. Postal Service dictate that any weight overload and only 20 percent in ULD containers. Therefore, if HULDs
will usually result in the removal of passengers rather than were used for 100 percent of the wide-body fleet, they would
the removal of mail. still only account for approximately 20 percent of all passen-
Seventy-five percent of the commercial airline fleet is ger luggage. The development and use of HULDs are dis-
narrow-body aircraft, which means that 80 percent of cussed in Chapter 5.

Copyright National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.