Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill on Saturday commissioned several new state-of-the-art scanners valued at $400 million at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
During the commissioning, he said the machines were obtained in keeping with the PPP/C Government’s plan to ensure that airport security is at the highest standard.
“The Government of Guyana, the President, Dr. Irfaan Ali’s administration is taking aviation security seriously. Countering the trafficking of narcotics and other illegal drugs and substances, preventing the passage of explosives and other illegal items through our airport is a priority,” Minister Edghill said.
The scanners would replace the current decades-old equipment, which would better enable the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit, and airport security to identify those who seek to traffic illegal and illicit items out of Guyana.
Notably, these scanners were sourced with funds from the airport’s capital funding, with support from the Government.
One of the scanners, a CTX 5800 Checked Luggage Scanner, quickly identifies threats in checked baggage. This high-tech machine, which is Transportation Security Administration (TSA) certified, attracts a price tag of $290 million.
Another machine, the CTX 5800 Computer Tomography (C.T.) based system uses a single x-ray generator to provide high-resolution, 3D images to quickly and accurately identify threats, making it ideal for airports. It can be fully integrated into a Baggage Handling System and offers networking solutions to link multiple scanners for efficient image distribution and system monitoring among operators.
This new system will also have the ability to automatically separate baggage from those that require secondary checks. The unit replaces the Rapiscan 528, which was commissioned at the CJIA more than 16 years ago.
The new machines have automatic detection capabilities and will allow the screener to manipulate and further examine anomalies detected in passenger luggage.
Two of the new screening machines would be deployed at the Passenger In-transit and Staff Screening Points.
In-transit passengers will no longer have to clear Arrivals Immigration and be escorted to the Departures’ Terminal to board their connecting flights. These passengers will enter directly into the Departures’ Lounge after being screened at the In-transit Check Point. Airport employees would be screened separately from passengers, thus reducing the processing time for each flight.
Minister Edghill, who has purview over the aviation sector, said with the new scanners, the screening of passengers would be “greatly expedited with greater imaging.”
He added that with the kind of equipment that the CJIA now possesses, the travelling public would be subjected to less physical screening by airport security.
The Minister also said it is the Government’s intention for the CJIA to become a transportation hub for air traffic between the Caribbean and South America.
Accordingly, he explained, “We are being proactive at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport by putting in these facilities to ensure… our travelling passenger comfort, adequate security screening, protecting aviation security.
The modernisation of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, the physical infrastructure and now the technology, will support that kind of infrastructure …is linked with ensuring that Guyana becomes a major tourist destination.”
Meanwhile, Chairman of CJIA’s Board of Directors, Mr. Sanjeev Datadin said the airport aims to provide a service that is secure and comfortable.
“We have some construction. We know that there are challenges with that, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t provide a service to the travelling public that is of a standard that is satisfactory.”
The CJIA is also looking to purchase body cameras for its security staff. In addition to this, the airport is seeking to procure bottle scanners for liquids, which would allow passengers to take liquids through the main checkpoint. CJIA Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ramesh Ghir, Board Member Ms. Daun Ellis and Commissioner of Police Nigel Hoppie, D.S.M also attended the commissioning. (Modified from DPI)