Ben Gurion Airport
A security check at Ben Gurion International Airport. Photo by David Bachar
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The Israel Airports Authority is scheduled to start testing an automatic baggage screening method today, which will replace the current policy of questioning passengers in order to determine the degree of risk they pose.

Once the new Hold Baggage Screening system is fully rolled out, it will include 16 screening machines, including 8 CT machines. The project will cost $70 million. General Electric is implementing the project.

The system involves scanning baggage with the CT scanner. If the scan reveals something suspicious, then the bag is then scanned by a different kind of machine, which conducts a deep, high-resolution scan that can identify explosives by type and pinpoint exactly where they are.

This scanning process will be carried out automatically, and out of passengers' eyesight.

During the testing phase, which is scheduled to last a month, passengers traveling with Lufthansa, Austrian Airways and U.S. Airways will have their luggage scanned first by the current method, and then by the new method. These airlines were picked because their check-in counters are in a separate area, on the airport's ground floor alongside the arrivals lounge.

An initial pilot was conducted in December, at which point four machines were installed on that floor.