Terminal 3 at Ben Gurion Airport
Terminal 3 at Ben-Gurion International Airport. Photo by Alon Ron
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Ben-Gurion International Airport will close its main terminal for the day on Friday to test its new luggage screening system, aimed at improving the airport's method of conducting personal security checks.

During the closure, passengers will check in at Terminal 1, the old main terminal. They will then be transported straight to Terminal 3’s duty-free shopping center and will board their flights from the gates at Terminal 3. Incoming flights will land at Terminal 3 and be processed as usual.

State Comptroller Yaakov Yaakovich criticized the airport in his latest report for failing to implement the new system in a timely fashion and for exceeding the budget by 25 percent.

The new screening system, "Hold Baggage Screening" (HBS), is based on 16 high-resolution CT scanners specialized to detect explosives and potential weapons. The system is supposed to supplant the methods currently used by Israeli airport security -personal questioning and physical searches - which notoriously rely on racial profiling, often putting heightened scrutiny on Israeli Arabs.

Plans to implement the HBS system in Ben-Gurion Airport earlier this year were postponed after test-runs of the system over the summer revealed numerous flaws. The Israel Airports Authority considers 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, also for a single day.