Security gates at Brussels Airport to be replaced after only five years
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    Security gates at Brussels Airport to be replaced after only five years

    The electronic security gates installed at Brussels Airport in 2015 are to be replaced, the federal police have announced.

    The so-called e-gates will be replaced by “a better performing system,” the police said.

    The gates were introduced amid much fanfare in 2015, as the pride of then home affairs minister Jan Jambon, now minister-president of Flanders.

    The technology allowed the gates to check a passport and compare the photo to a scan of the passenger’s face, only allowing entry if there was a match.

    The idea was to improve security, but then the attack on the airport in March 2016 showed that the system – bought from a Portuguese company for a total of €2.4 million – was far from foolproof.

    They were not satisfactory,” the police said. “We will be looking for a better performing system for security at the airport.”

    The police unions were less diplomatic. “A complete fiasco,” one representative told Het Nieuwsblad.

    The things were broken more often than anything else,” the union representative said. “We were promised they would free up manpower who could then be deployed elsewhere. But because of the problems, the doors actually demanded more manpower. Officers had to run from one gate to the other to deal with the latest in a line of defects.”

    People whose passport was perfectly in order often couldn’t pass through the gate, yet a woman with the passport of her husband with his moustache got through with no problem. They didn’t work in any way. They even lay unused for two months.”

    According to the official police statement, the new system will also be suitable for use at other airports, as well as the new high-speed rail terminal at Brussels South station.

    The price of the new system has yet to be determined.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times