Full-body scanners coming to St. John's

Deana Stokes Sullivan
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Airport authority reports increase in revenue at AGM

St. John's International Airport will soon get a full-body scanner, but the problem right now is figuring out where to put such a large piece of equipment in the building's small security area.

Robert Gosse, regional operations manager with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, said full-body scanners are being used across the country in larger Class 1 airports, while secondary Class 2 airports such as the St. John's airport have also been slated to have them installed.

St. John's Coun. Sandy Hickman (left) chats with Fraser Edison (centre), chairman of the St. John's International Airport Authority, and Keith Collins (right), the authority's president and chief executive officer, following an annual general meeting Tues

St. John's International Airport will soon get a full-body scanner, but the problem right now is figuring out where to put such a large piece of equipment in the building's small security area.

Robert Gosse, regional operations manager with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, said full-body scanners are being used across the country in larger Class 1 airports, while secondary Class 2 airports such as the St. John's airport have also been slated to have them installed.

"The problem we have, of course, is a space issue, so we're looking at collectively getting the air transport security authority working with the airport authority to try to find a way that we can accommodate the piece of machinery," Gosse said Tuesday.

He raised the issue of the cramped security area Tuesday night at the St. John's Airport Authority's annual general meeting.

Gosse said in an interview after the meeting he was hoping to get some answers from the board of directors, but was pleased to hear they are working on it.

"We're hoping in the next three months we'll have some kind of a working plan so we can probably come up with a solution," he said.

Gosse said a full-body scanner would take up a floor area of about 10 feet by 10 feet, which would take up most of the room currently in the security area.

In some other parts of North America, the introduction of full-body scanners - which have been described as providing virtual strip searches by using electromagnetic waves to scan through clothing - have met with considerable opposition.

Gosse said people are often opposed when they don't know the new technology and how it works, but the feedback he's heard is that people are becoming more accepting of this technology.

"As technology changes, people's views change and the world arena changes on terrorism, then we really need to look at new processes and equipment," he said.

Gosse said if St. John's wants to be consistent with the rest of Canada, it should offer security measures that are available coast to coast.

St. John's already has excellent screening staff, trainedto the optimal standards, he said, but this is just another level of security.

Visibility addressed

Fraser Edison, chairman of the St. John's International Airport Authority, outlined other priorities for the airport this year in his report to the annual general meeting.

Among them is a $25.8-million project, involving a Category 3 instrument landing system (ILS) and related airfield improvements, which the authority hopes will increase the airport's annual accessibility from 93.8 per cent to 98.9 per cent.

In other words, Edison said, "It will reverse our reputation of being inaccessible," referring to flight delays and cancellations because of poor visibility at the airport.

Edison said the airport authority submitted an application in the fall of 2009 to the federal and provincial governments, seeking tripartite funding for this initiative.

He said the new ILS would benefit the entire province and its economy.

During his tenure as chairman, Edison said, he also intends to advance the development of the 300 acres of land available at the airport for the benefit of the region's business community.

"Timely and prudent development of our airport land will help to fuel the continued growth of business and industry in the St. John's area as commercial land within the city has become scarce," Edison said. "It will be particularly beneficial to the province's growing defence and aerospace industry whose presence at the airport is essential for this industry's success."

Rising revenue

In its financial figures, the airport authority's revenue grew slightly in 2009 to $22,853,000 from $22,658,000 in 2008.

President and chief executive officer Keith Collins said in his message to the annual meeting the authority was successful in broadening its revenue sources and reducing its dependence on aeronautical fee revenues to less than 50 per cent of the total. The final 2009 operating revenues were within one per cent of targeted levels.

The total revenues of more than $22.8 million last year included $8,380,000 from airport improvement fees - the $15 collected from departing passengers.

Landing fees brought in $4,203,000; terminal fees generated $2,889,000; concessions, $2,981,000; car parking, $1,877,000; and rentals $1,816,000.

Expenses for 2009 cost the authority $21,783,000, the largest expense categories being salaries, at more than $5.8 million, operating costs at about $5.2 million, amortization, around $5.1 million, and interest and financing costs of about $3 million.

According to the authority's 2009 annual report, $140 million has been invested in capital improvements since 1999, with less than half that amount collected from passengers through airport improvement fees. This year, the authority plans to conclude its long-term infrastructure plan and complete its long-term financial plan to support investment in these infrastructure improvements.

Its business plan forecast for 2010 to 2014 projects increased revenue from $24.6 million this year to $31.8 million in 2014.

Expenses are projected to range from $19 million this year to $21.8 million in 2014.

dss@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, St. John's Airport, International Airport Authority

Geographic location: St. John's, North America, Canada

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Comments

Recent comments

  • Jim R
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    The nut cases are here commenting as well.

  • Tess
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Jess - I didn't say they sneaked the box cutters on to the planes. I said explosive sniffing dogs would miss them. A body scanner would pick them up. The hijackers were absolutely allowed to take them on and they were absolutely banned after September 11. I fully agree with you. You have no argument there. Where did I say that they were banned when the hijackers took them on?
    I said that bomb sniffing dogs would not be able to smell a knife or a box cutter.
    Try to know what you're talking about before you talk down to someone.

  • Jackie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    I worked at St. John's airport for a couple of years and after meeting some of the people who work for CATSA (and do screening) I am horrified that they will now also see naked images of people.

  • Jess
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Those scanners CANNOT see under the skin. Now listen closely Tess, those 9/11 hijackers were not able to sneak box cutters onto the plane. They were ALLOWED to take them onto a plane at that time. It's only since then have they been banned. I'm sure the magnetic wands easily found those box cutters on their persons or the x-ray machines found them in their carry-ons, and they were ok'd to go on board because, like I said, they were only banned AFTER 9/11, along with many other items. Try knowing what you're talking about next time please before you misinform those who are not in the know (like yourself).

  • Rick
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Total waste of money!!!! Our tax dollars.

    These scanners only see through clothing and no deeper.

    Compare the cost of drug sniffing dogs, and more in use today in war zones, dogs that sniff out explosives. Trained sniffer dogs worked well in Iraq.

    Cost? Dog food, accommodations, and a dedicated trainer.

    Some of us may recall international drug smugglers who would swallow a condoms full of drugs to make it through security at airports; so why wouldn't a determined suicide bomber do the same with explosives...the scanner doesn't look inside the body...dogs can sniff out explosives even if they are encased in a container.

    I spent 3 years between Baghdad and Tikirit and met Australian soldiers with black labs that sniffed out explosives.
    sniffers.

    Across Canada, provincial governments have been conned by the federal government to buy into this US scanner scam.

    Stay basic and stay smart hire dog teams.

  • henri
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    I read today that the body scanners are coming and yesterday I read that a boy of 12 managed to get on an air canada flight without a photo ID. My god we do not need body scanners!!!!!!

  • Tess
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Rick - I'm certain your explosive sniffing dogs could have sniffed out the box cutters the hijackers on September 11th used. They would have been very effective, these explosive sniffing dogs, in picking up the scent of knives.
    What? Oh. They wouldn't have. That's right.
    The scanners can see through clothing effectively enough to see if someone is carrying a knife, has a pacemaker or a metal body part - or if someone has planted a bomb under their skin. That's something dogs can't smell.
    And what about if someone is bringing in foreign flora and fauna? Can the dogs smell that?

    My mom always said if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to be afraid of. They want to scan me at the airport? Bring it on. They want to scan the guy behind me with a gun or a knife in his shirt? Bring that on too. It's called safety.
    Bomb sniffing dogs aren't the answer.

  • Nichole
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Seriously children. Everyone has something to complain about these days don't they? It's for OUR safety!! Would you like to be one of the people on a plane that some nutter has just gotten a weapon on? No. I Bet you will be one of the first asking where the scanners were then. It takes a few seconds of your time to walk through a machine. My God. We're all human. Not like you're hiding someone someone else hasn't seen before. And For DJ, someone so concerned with the efffects this may have on cancer patients, do your family members walk around in a giant bubble every day? Do they eat anything in a can? Do they have any plastic materials in their house? There are a million things in every day life that some how is linked to cancer and you're concerned about something that may just be helping save a life.
    Honestly, I have to wonder, when did everyone get sooooo almighty? There will never be a law enforced, or an idea, or safety measure, etc. that 100% of the population will be happy with. You just so happen to be on the unhappy side this time. But if someone is caught walking into the airport, with a weapon on his being and a boarding ticket for YOUR plane, your song will change, and hopefully you'll kick yourself in your thick skull.

  • DeeBee
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    I agree with Jackie B. Some of the people working in security at the airport in St. John's - and other airports, too, I suppose - are as creepy as you will ever meet. I wouldn't be surprised if there is an increase in applications for security jobs at the airport now. And it wouldn't be so bad if I felt these scanners are actually going to keep people safe in the air. As they say, 'a locked door only keeps out an honest man'. All they're doing is humiliating innocent people in the hopes of catching someone trying to do something threatening. Someone with intent to cause harm will find a way to get past these scanners. They don't care if one operative gets caught...they'll try a different tactic with the next operative. These organized terror groups are not going to let this device stop them...they're relentless.

  • DJ
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Very disappointed to hear this. I have a history of cancer in my family, which increases my concern about getting high doses of electromagnetic radiation.... not to mention the privacy issues associated with the naked body image...

    I hope that we will have the option of a pat down (as much as I dislike that option also).

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    I thought the airport had been made into a private corporation, so why is it looking for public money to upgrade its euipment? Didn't the Federal government give them funded to bring them up to standard before the transfer? As to the scanner I guess it be great for a PAL or Porter flight.

  • Billy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    With the exception of crew members, we can all CHOOSE NOT TO FLY!

  • Johnny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Full-body scanners are a ridiculous, knee-jerk reaction to a minuscule threat.
    But they make some US corporations very happy.
    Here's a suggestion...refuse. You have the right.

  • Citizen
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    better check with the mayor of St Anthony, they may feel they need it more that St. John's

  • P
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    St. John's Airport is obsolete already. Time to start renovations and increase airport fees to pay for the full body scans we all want done to ourselves at unknown long-term risk. I know the architects will enjoy reaping the benefits for not having left any room for future expansion. Enjoy the disruption, and we all look forward to seeing each others scan images online some time down the road when an unscrupulous operator flips the machine into test mode and takes home a few snapshots.

  • Jim R
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    The nut cases are here commenting as well.

  • Tess
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Jess - I didn't say they sneaked the box cutters on to the planes. I said explosive sniffing dogs would miss them. A body scanner would pick them up. The hijackers were absolutely allowed to take them on and they were absolutely banned after September 11. I fully agree with you. You have no argument there. Where did I say that they were banned when the hijackers took them on?
    I said that bomb sniffing dogs would not be able to smell a knife or a box cutter.
    Try to know what you're talking about before you talk down to someone.

  • Jackie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    I worked at St. John's airport for a couple of years and after meeting some of the people who work for CATSA (and do screening) I am horrified that they will now also see naked images of people.

  • Jess
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Those scanners CANNOT see under the skin. Now listen closely Tess, those 9/11 hijackers were not able to sneak box cutters onto the plane. They were ALLOWED to take them onto a plane at that time. It's only since then have they been banned. I'm sure the magnetic wands easily found those box cutters on their persons or the x-ray machines found them in their carry-ons, and they were ok'd to go on board because, like I said, they were only banned AFTER 9/11, along with many other items. Try knowing what you're talking about next time please before you misinform those who are not in the know (like yourself).

  • Rick
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Total waste of money!!!! Our tax dollars.

    These scanners only see through clothing and no deeper.

    Compare the cost of drug sniffing dogs, and more in use today in war zones, dogs that sniff out explosives. Trained sniffer dogs worked well in Iraq.

    Cost? Dog food, accommodations, and a dedicated trainer.

    Some of us may recall international drug smugglers who would swallow a condoms full of drugs to make it through security at airports; so why wouldn't a determined suicide bomber do the same with explosives...the scanner doesn't look inside the body...dogs can sniff out explosives even if they are encased in a container.

    I spent 3 years between Baghdad and Tikirit and met Australian soldiers with black labs that sniffed out explosives.
    sniffers.

    Across Canada, provincial governments have been conned by the federal government to buy into this US scanner scam.

    Stay basic and stay smart hire dog teams.

  • henri
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    I read today that the body scanners are coming and yesterday I read that a boy of 12 managed to get on an air canada flight without a photo ID. My god we do not need body scanners!!!!!!

  • Tess
    July 01, 2010 - 20:07

    Rick - I'm certain your explosive sniffing dogs could have sniffed out the box cutters the hijackers on September 11th used. They would have been very effective, these explosive sniffing dogs, in picking up the scent of knives.
    What? Oh. They wouldn't have. That's right.
    The scanners can see through clothing effectively enough to see if someone is carrying a knife, has a pacemaker or a metal body part - or if someone has planted a bomb under their skin. That's something dogs can't smell.
    And what about if someone is bringing in foreign flora and fauna? Can the dogs smell that?

    My mom always said if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to be afraid of. They want to scan me at the airport? Bring it on. They want to scan the guy behind me with a gun or a knife in his shirt? Bring that on too. It's called safety.
    Bomb sniffing dogs aren't the answer.

  • Nichole
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Seriously children. Everyone has something to complain about these days don't they? It's for OUR safety!! Would you like to be one of the people on a plane that some nutter has just gotten a weapon on? No. I Bet you will be one of the first asking where the scanners were then. It takes a few seconds of your time to walk through a machine. My God. We're all human. Not like you're hiding someone someone else hasn't seen before. And For DJ, someone so concerned with the efffects this may have on cancer patients, do your family members walk around in a giant bubble every day? Do they eat anything in a can? Do they have any plastic materials in their house? There are a million things in every day life that some how is linked to cancer and you're concerned about something that may just be helping save a life.
    Honestly, I have to wonder, when did everyone get sooooo almighty? There will never be a law enforced, or an idea, or safety measure, etc. that 100% of the population will be happy with. You just so happen to be on the unhappy side this time. But if someone is caught walking into the airport, with a weapon on his being and a boarding ticket for YOUR plane, your song will change, and hopefully you'll kick yourself in your thick skull.

  • DeeBee
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    I agree with Jackie B. Some of the people working in security at the airport in St. John's - and other airports, too, I suppose - are as creepy as you will ever meet. I wouldn't be surprised if there is an increase in applications for security jobs at the airport now. And it wouldn't be so bad if I felt these scanners are actually going to keep people safe in the air. As they say, 'a locked door only keeps out an honest man'. All they're doing is humiliating innocent people in the hopes of catching someone trying to do something threatening. Someone with intent to cause harm will find a way to get past these scanners. They don't care if one operative gets caught...they'll try a different tactic with the next operative. These organized terror groups are not going to let this device stop them...they're relentless.

  • DJ
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Very disappointed to hear this. I have a history of cancer in my family, which increases my concern about getting high doses of electromagnetic radiation.... not to mention the privacy issues associated with the naked body image...

    I hope that we will have the option of a pat down (as much as I dislike that option also).

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    I thought the airport had been made into a private corporation, so why is it looking for public money to upgrade its euipment? Didn't the Federal government give them funded to bring them up to standard before the transfer? As to the scanner I guess it be great for a PAL or Porter flight.

  • Billy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    With the exception of crew members, we can all CHOOSE NOT TO FLY!

  • Johnny
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Full-body scanners are a ridiculous, knee-jerk reaction to a minuscule threat.
    But they make some US corporations very happy.
    Here's a suggestion...refuse. You have the right.

  • Citizen
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    better check with the mayor of St Anthony, they may feel they need it more that St. John's

  • P
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    St. John's Airport is obsolete already. Time to start renovations and increase airport fees to pay for the full body scans we all want done to ourselves at unknown long-term risk. I know the architects will enjoy reaping the benefits for not having left any room for future expansion. Enjoy the disruption, and we all look forward to seeing each others scan images online some time down the road when an unscrupulous operator flips the machine into test mode and takes home a few snapshots.