1 Feb 2022

Airport Security & Access Control

Airports are large areas with many access points. These are necessary to facilitate the efficiency needed to handle the large volumes of traffic they generate. Yet, this accessibility is also their Achilles heel in the eyes of would-be terrorists, smugglers, and thieves.

Thus, balancing an effective access control strategy while maximizing the movement of passengers can be a challenge.

“Airport access control can provide something of a paradox,” says Michael Byrden, Business Development Manager for Access Control at Vanderbilt International. “People want to travel without fear of falling victim to an attack. Still, security cannot be so invasive that it makes travel unpleasant. Vanderbilt’s ACTpro access control system is an agile and flexible system with a deep suite of features that provides an antidote to this challenge.”

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Key to any access control system is its ability to integrate with video systems and ACTpro integrates with some of the best brands in the world. These include Avigilon, AxxonSoft, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Milestone and Network Optics.

A considerable obstacle to airport security is that most employees at an airport work for various companies, such as airlines or the multiple commercial vendors present in airports. Vanderbilt’s ACTpro enables partitions and zones to be created, determining who should have access to certain areas at certain times.

An example of this can be found across significant hangars in London’s Luton Airport. “Here, the ACTpro access control system was chosen to distinguish between legitimate and unauthorized visitors to protect the safety of passengers, staff, aircraft, and infrastructure,” says Byrden. “The measures invoked by the ACTpro access control system prevent unauthorized entry into controlled areas by staff or intruders and ensure that legitimate visitors can progress smoothly through the site.”

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Additionally, the ACTpro system also includes the ability to execute ‘airlock’ or holding areas between pairs of doors. This means the doors cannot be opened simultaneously except in emergencies when a supervisor activates an override. This function helps defeat concerted intrusion attempts. In addition, the software provides invaluable health and safety abilities for fire mustering.

Of course, the integral key to airport security is the many crucial restricted access areas. These include the air traffic control towers, baggage areas, right up to the tarmac where planes land and take off.

“When it comes to protecting these restricted areas with an added layer of security, ACTpro also includes a Twin User feature. This ensures that at least two people must present their credentials at a specific reader simultaneously to access a sensitive area,” says Byrden.