Security officials at the Kelowna International Airport will get to see a lot more of passengers today when they begin using new screening technology that sees through clothing.

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) announced that Kelowna’s airport will be the guinea pig for the millimetre wave body imaging system that uses a low-level radio frequency to create a three-dimensional image of passengers to detect weapons or other dangerous objects hidden beneath their clothing.

“Our voluntary pilot project will enable us to see if the technology can accelerate the screening process by cutting down the number of physical searches,” CATSA’s interim chief executive officer Kevin McGarr said in a release.


The security officer who operates the machine sees only a simplified image of passengers’ bodies. Another officer, in a private room, sees full detailed black-and-white images.

In Vancouver yesterday, some travellers said the new system makes them uncomfortable. Janine Delabarre and friend Melanie Osmack, both mothers of young children, said that they did not think it was appropriate and “wouldn’t be for it,” especially if children are involved.

Charles Armstrong, visiting from England, said that he didn’t think the increased security measures would help make people safer.

“I think you get enough security now,” said Armstrong. “You can’t stop everything.”

Latest From ...