On November 14th the European Commission added the use of security scanners to the list of authorised screening methods. The restrictions on their use very much reflect ECA’s concerns.
ECA has put a lot of energy in explaining to EU decision-makers why it is important for flight crew and frequent flyers to avoid screening measures that have not been proven safe for health. Furthermore ECA had strong concerns over privacy issues related to the processing and the storage of images captured. The European Parliament and the Commission who share these concerns have stressed the need to protect the health and fundamental rights of crew members.
As a result, this new rule excludes any form of technology using ionising radiation. Airports who had installed such technologies will remove them progressively. Additionally, passengers and crew can ask for alternative security methods or pat-downs instead.
This is a first step for ECA. However pilots are trusted professionals, they are the security officers on board the aircraft and should therefore be subject to random screening only. This would avoid them unnecessary hassle and stress before taking up their flight duty. A common EU-wide Crew Identification Card, based on biometrics and thorough background checks, would be the answer and ECA will continue to strive for such a European-wide initiative.