PASSENGERS at Nice Airport are being faced today with a new security body-scanner that reveals any hidden objects under clothing.
Previous tests at Paris Charle-de-Gaulle in 2010 proved inconclusive and security authorities at the Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile wanted a second test at Nice, France's second-busiest airport.
The test is, at the moment, voluntary and passengers using Terminal 1 at Nice will be asked if they want to go through the machine rather than the traditional doorway scanner.
They will have to hold their arms out straight for two seconds while a scan is performed. If anything suspicious is found security officers will perform a targeted search.
It had been intended to install the scanner at Nice in 2008 but travellers had protested about the privacy of scans which they thought were like virtual strip searches. They demanded assurances that images would not be stored and that genital areas should be blurred.
The new millimetre-wave scanners by manufacturers L3 Communications do not produce an image of the person, just a mannequin, and reveal no anatomical details. Previous scanners by other manufacturers used low-intensity X-rays to produce a real-body image.
Airport bosses at Paris CDG were not sufficiently impressed by the machine to continue with the experiment or buy one of the scanners, which can cost up to €150,000. Airports in Italy and Germany have also tested the machines but have decided not to continue.