Scanners capable of detecting liquid explosives will be installed in all of China's 147 airports before the 2008 Olympic Games, a top official has said.
"All civil airports will be required to install at least one such scanner starting from next year," said Yang Chengfeng, head of the public security division under the General Administration of Civil Aviation (CAAC).
Yang said the CAAC had been looking for effective methods to detect liquid explosives since British police said in August they'd foiled a plot to blow up aircraft using such explosives. "Liquid explosives have become a big threat to aviation security globally," he said.
The new scanners, made by Beijing-based NUCTECH, can detect liquid explosives in just five seconds. The current method of detection used at Chinese airports is to smell the liquid or ask travelers to take a sip of it.
"Using the new scanners at airports can reduce passengers' waiting time," Yang said at a Beijing news conference on Tuesday. But he stressed that the present ban on liquids would still be in effect after the scanners are put into use.
China now bans almost all liquids and gels aboard aircraft except baby food and medicines if the prescription is in the ticket holder's name.
Yang said the scanners would be in place before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. "We have confidence the Olympics Games will be safe," commented Yang.
CAAC will adopt special security measures to ensure safe and convenient travel for passengers. Athletes will pass through separate security channels. The China-Africa Summit proved to be a successful rehearsal for the Olympics when 48 state leaders came through the Beijing Capital International Airport.
CAAC requires all liquids to be checked following a crash on May 7, 2002 near the northern city of Dalian in which 112 people died. The accident was blamed on a passenger setting fire to gasoline carried in soft drink cans.
(China Daily December 15, 2006)