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Save the day! XP-DITE Final Event – 30 May 2017, Schiphol Airport

The XP-DITE Project Final Event will be held on Tuesday 30 May at Schiphol Airport. The EU Framework Programme 7 project XP-DITE has brought together 13 organisations across Europe to develop, demonstrate and validate a comprehensive, passenger-centred, outcome-focused, system-level approach to the design and evaluation of airport security checkpoints. The XP-DITE approach allows airports, checkpoint designers and regulators to incorporate a wide range of requirements and evaluate checkpoint performance against system-level security, cost, throughput, passenger satisfaction and ethical factors.

As the project nears its conclusion, the event provides an opportunity for stakeholders from airports, industry and government to discuss the future of aviation security; hear the results of the project and the airport trials that have been carried out; and to explore with the project team and invited experts how the XP-DITE work can be taken forwards.

Attendance is by invitation only. Stakeholders interested in attending who are not on our regular invitation list should get in touch through the Contact Us page on the website. Please let us know your organisation, role and area of interest.


XP-DITE Proof-of-Concept Checkpoint Trials – September 2016

Over the last 4 years the XP-DITE project has been developing a new system-level approach to the design and evaluation of aviation security checkpoints. This is now being trialled at two proof-of-concept checkpoints.

In the current regulatory regime, designers can only choose equipment from an approved list which has been tested in isolation, and must follow detailed rules on how screening is carried out.  The XP-DITE vision, in contrast, is outcome-focused. As long as the checkpoint delivers the required level of security as an overall system, airports would be free to choose the equipment and processes to meet the business and customer service objectives of the airport and the airlines which use it.

The project has entered the phase where the tools developed to support this new design approach can be used to build proof-of-concept checkpoints for practical trials.

The first proof-of-concept, a technology demonstrator, has just completed tests at the Scarabee integration facility near Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and is undergoing security-performance testing at aviation security test laboratories in the Netherlands and Germany.

The second proof-of-concept is a live passenger trial at Shannon Airport of a combined European and US Pre-clearance checkpoint, replacing the two separate checkpoints which are used at present.  This trial will show how a checkpoint can be designed to comply with two different sets of regulations (EU and US TSA).  The combined checkpoint, the first of its kind, should result in improved customer service and reduced operating costs.

Technology Demonstrator

The XP-DITE technology demonstrator checkpoint features a number of state-of-the-art prototype detection technologies alongside the use of more mature established component technologies. The combination of new and established technology aims to assess new approaches to airport security which could maintain a high level of defence against terrorist threats while improving the experience for passengers and reducing costs for operators.

Firstly a new X-ray scanner, which provides new detection properties compared to existing X-ray cabin baggage scanners available on the market, has been developed by XP-DITE partner Smiths Detection. This focuses on new detection algorithms which provide the capability to reconstruct 3D images of the bag using multi-view techniques which are significantly cheaper, more compact, faster and power efficient than CT type scanners. Algorithms to screen liquids in bags (ECAC type D) have also been developed.

This has been integrated with a pair of state of the art laser-based explosive detection systems developed as part of XP-DITE, one looking for microscopic trace explosive residues on belongings (developed by FOI the Swedish Defence Research Agency), and one high sensitivity trace vapour detection system for the purpose of detecting homemade explosives (developed by Cascade Technologies).

The idea is that these detection systems operate together, automatically combining complementary bulk and trace detection technologies on every bag, without requiring additional staff or causing passenger delays.

The identification and linking passengers to their baggage is carried out by a new “on-the-fly” fingerprint biometric identification developed by Safran.

Combined EU/US Pre-Clearance Checkpoint

The second checkpoint, which is being used for passenger trials at Shannon Airport, combines the European and US Pre-clearance checkpoints, replacing the two separate checkpoints which are used at present with just one. The Shannon trial will show how a checkpoint can be designed to comply with two different sets of regulations (EU and the US TSA systems). This combined checkpoint is the first of its kind in the world and has been designed to improve customer experience. Passengers flying to the US will no longer have to queue up twice for separate security checks.

Pre-clearance allows US-bound passengers to complete immigration and customs formalities, as well as security screening for US domestic flights, before they travel. This means that they can land at any airport in the USA, not just the busy international ones, they can take domestic flights without rescreening and their luggage can be checked through to their final destination. Ten major airports across Europe and around the world are looking to adopt the pre-clearance approach, which could benefit some 20 million US-bound passengers per year.

The checkpoint includes new multi-view x-ray scanners from Smiths Detection; newly installed security scanners replacing the walk-through metal detectors previously in use; and, specially designed screening processes in order to comply with the detailed regulations operating in the EU and the USA.

The checkpoint was designed and implemented as part of the XP-DITE project, in cooperation with the management and staff of Shannon Airport. The project is grateful to the Irish Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport and the US Transportation Security Administration for their support in putting in place the enhanced arrangements. The trial will run at Shannon Airport from September 6th for a ten week period.

Analysis and evaluation

After the airport trials, tests will continue at security testing laboratories at TNO in the Netherlands and Fraunhofer ICT in Germany. The proof-of-concept checkpoints have been designed and will be evaluated against a range of security and compliance, cost and operations, passenger satisfaction and ethical performance indicators. The trial results will be analysed to evaluate the suite of modelling tools and empirical evaluation methods developed by the XP-DITE team.

Stakeholder meetings are being arranged in October for the Shannon trial. Results of both trials and the project as a whole will be presented at an XP-DITE stakeholder conference, being planned at the end of the project in May 2017.

XP-DITE Proof-of-concept combined EU and TSA pre-clearance demonstrator at Shannon Airport, showing Smiths iLane

XP-DITE Proof-of-concept combined EU and TSA pre-clearance demonstrator at Shannon Airport, showing Smiths iLane

XP-DITE Proof-of-concept technology demonstrator at Scarabee integration facility

XP-DITE Proof-of-concept technology demonstrator at Scarabee integration facility

Shannon Airport’s Niall Maloney Operations Director and John Francis Chief Officer Security, with Mike Kemp from the XP-DITE project at the opening of the XP-DITE proof-of-concept combined pre-clearance checkpoint trial.

Shannon Airport’s Niall Maloney Operations Director and John Francis Chief Officer Security, with Mike Kemp from the XP-DITE project at the opening of the XP-DITE proof-of-concept combined pre-clearance checkpoint trial.

XP-DITE Proof-of-concept technology demonstrator trial at Scarabee integration facility, showing X-ray bag screening combined with in-line laser-based vapour and trace particle detection systems.

XP-DITE Proof-of-concept technology demonstrator trial at Scarabee integration facility, showing X-ray bag screening combined with in-line laser-based vapour and trace particle detection systems.


Shannon Airport joins XP-DITE

The XP-DITE partners are pleased to welcome Shannon Airport in Ireland to the XP-DITE project consortium. Shannon is an international airport on the western-most part of Europe serving both transatlantic and European destinations.

Shannon Airport will trial one of the project’s two proof-of-concept airport security checkpoints. With 1.7 million passengers expected in 2015, Shannon contrasts with the large international hub, Schiphol Airport, the other airport operator in the project. Together they will help ensure that the XP-DITE system-level concepts, design and evaluation tools & methods are applicable to European airports of different types and sizes.

The consortium is exploring whether the demonstration checkpoint that will be trialled in XP-DITE can combine the functionality of the separate EU and US checkpoints in order to improve passenger experience and operational efficiency.

Shannon Airport was the first airport in Europe to provide full United States Preclearance services following the construction of a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance facility in 2009. It is the home of Shannon Duty Free, the world’s first duty free shop.

Shannon Airport, which has joined the project with effect from April 2015, replaces the Manchester Airport Group which left the consortium in 2014.


Stakeholder Meeting – Amsterdam, February 10th, 2016

The next annual XP-DITE stakeholder meeting will be held on February 10, 2016 in Amsterdam. The project will welcome members of its Advisory Board and other stakeholders from the aviation security regulatory community, airport operators, research institutes and manufacturers, to hear about and discuss the project’s latest results. Stakeholders interested in attending who are not on our regular invitation list should get in touch through the Contact Us page on the website. Please let us know your organisation, role and area of interest.


Airport Security Conference – Barcelona, November 17-18, 2015

Dr Mike Kemp is giving a presentation at the conference entitled “XP-DITE: Outcome-focused, system-level approaches for checkpoints”.


Aerodays2015 – London, October 20-23, 2015

Dr Mike Kemp gave a presentation entitled “XP-DITE: Towards a system-level approach to airport security checkpoints” at the 7th Aerodays event, the European flagship event for research and innovation in aerospace, which was held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London in October. The presentation was part of the session on Enhancing Security including Cyber Security in Aviation, chaired by Jaap de Ruiter (EC JRC).


Stakeholders Meeting – Paris, March 12th, 2015

The second annual XP-DITE stakeholder meeting took place on March 12, 2015 in Paris, alongside the Passenger Terminal Expo exhibition and conference. The latest plans and results from the project were discussed with the EU project officer and a broad range of stakeholders from the European Commission, National aviation security regulators, ECAC, IATA, ACI Europe, equipment manufacturers and security research institutes. We were particularly pleased to welcome one attendee from as far away as New Zealand!


CASRA joins XP-DITE consortium – September 2014

XP-DITE is pleased to welcome the Center for Adaptive Security Research and Applications – (CASRA) who joined the consortium with effect from July 1st 2014. CASRA from Switzerland was founded in 2008 and emerged from the Visual Cognition Research Group (VICOREG) of the University of Zurich. Well known in the aviation security community, CASRA brings an adaptive approach to XP-DITE by combining computer science, applied psychology and economic analyses with many years of experience in aviation security human factors and software development.

CASRA replaces ISDEFE which unfortunately had to withdraw from the consortium at the end of the first period in February 2014. The XP-DITE partners thank ISDEFE for its contributions and collaboration and look forward to working with CASRA.


XP-DITE Project Review – June 12-13th, 2014

XP-DITE successfully held its first project review with the EC Project Officer, Finance Officer and external reviewers in Brussels on June 12 and 13. The Project Coordinator and Technical Manager gave an overview of the project status. Each work package leader presented the work carried out during the first 18 months of the project and objectives for the next period. The Project Officer and reviewers made a number of helpful comments and suggestions. They said the project had made good progress and they looked forward to the next phase of the work.


Stakeholders Meeting – Rijswijk, September 12th, 2013

On September 12th, 2013 the first annual XP-DITE stakeholder meeting took place. Besides the project officer a broad range of stakeholders from the European Commission, national regulators, airport and airline representatives, IATA, EOS and standardization bodies joined this meeting at TNO premises in Rijswijk, The Netherlands.

After the opening remarks of the Coordinator Mark van den Brink of TNO, the Technical Manager of XP-DITE, Jaap de Ruiter, gave an overview of the project.

After this opening the work package leaders explained their main achievements during the first year of the project.

These presentations were followed by a lively discussion on the potential benefits of the XP-DITE approach and results, the requirements to the system level approach, and the difficulties of implementing the results because if involves and affects many stakeholders.

During the afternoon the technology development within XP-DITE was presented to the audience.

The final part of the XP-DITE Advisory board meeting was dedicated to an open discussion about the future of aviation security. XP-DITE should be capable to incorporate and/or to connect to some of the new (technological) developments.

At the closing of the meeting, the stakeholders expressed that this meeting was interesting and has been of value for them.