Shoe scanners to end barefoot ordeal at Naia | Inquirer News
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Shoe scanners to end barefoot ordeal at Naia

/ 01:34 AM September 25, 2011

Consider this a Christmas treat for the anxious traveler.

One of the inconveniences posed by the global war on terror will soon come to an end, at least for departing passengers at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

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A Naia official said passengers would no longer be required to take off their shoes when going through routine security checks before boarding.

Shoe scanners will be installed at the domestic and three international terminals, doing away with the need to go unshod just to show that the passenger is not concealing any explosive device or bomb-making materials.

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“The shoe detector will still provide the same security efficiency for the airport and at the same time convenience for passengers,” said Naia general manager Angel Jose Honrado, a retired general.

He said his office was currently looking for “reasonably priced shoe detector models” which hopefully could be installed in time for the peak travel season in December.

At present, Naia passengers are required to remove their shoes and socks and place them in a bin for inspection through x-ray, along with other carry-on items. Honrado conceded that the process was one of the main causes of long lines in the security area.

But with the new equipment, he said, “the passenger still has also to go through a scanner (but it) has the capability to detect metal in the shoes (you’re wearing),” Honrado said.

What about drugs?

But according to an airport intelligence officer, who asked not to be named for lack of clearance to speak on the matter, having new scanners may still not be enough—since airport security is not just about looking for bombs.

“Our concern is drugs or other illegal materials that could be hidden in soles of the shoes and which could not be detected by the shoe scanner,” the officer said.

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Shoe scanners are already in use in airports in Australia, Austria, the United States, Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Lorimer Borcado, 53, a contract worker who was waiting for his flight to Qatar, welcomed the technical upgrade, saying it was quite a break for men like him who often travel in rubber shoes.

But Albert Horculado, a 25-year-old seaman bound for the United Kingdom, said he wouldn’t mind if the old, barefoot system remained in place.

“Security is prime and if removing your shoes is a price to pay for safety, then so be it,” he said.

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TAGS: airport intelligence officer, Naia general manager Angel Jose Honrado, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), shoe scanners
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