Ben Gurion Terminal Shut to Test Security System


Ben Gurion International Airport’s main terminal was scheduled to be closed on Friday to test an overhaul of its security system, Haaretz reported.

A new luggage-screening system is being installed in the hope of improving the airport’s personal security check regime.

During the closure, passenger check was rerouted for Terminal 1, the old main terminal. From there passengers were to go straight to Terminal 3’s duty-free shopping center and board flights from the gates at Terminal 3. Incoming flights were to land at Terminal 3 and be processed as usual.

The new screening system, Hold Baggage Screening (HBS), is based on 16 high-resolution CT scanners designed to detect explosives and weapons. HBS is to replace the personal questioning and physical searches currently used by Israeli airport security, which have been criticized for racial profiling, particularly of Israeli Arabs.

Plans to implement the HBS system earlier this year were postponed after test runs exposed various flaws. The Israel Airports Authority is considering demanding financial compensation from Siemens, the system’s manufacturer, for the resulting delays. Authority officials said they will continue meeting with Siemens representatives until the system is up and running.

In order to further test the system, the airport will shut down Terminal 3 again on February 21.