Airline security brings new opportunities

The latest airline bomb threat is shining the spotlight on increased security, which should include a hefty dose of spending for more security devices. These low volume, high technology products could present a solid market opportunity for U.S. printed board suppliers and electronics manufacturing companies.

Chemical sniffers would be the most logical new technology. They’re used rarely, but after the Nigerian lit himself on fire on Christmas Day, usage should increase. There’s already a fair amount of money being spent to sniff for chemicals.

Approximately $300 million of the 2010 budget is going to the Passenger Screening Program to improve explosives detection capabilities in passenger screening. This includes the purchase of Advanced Technology X-rays, Whole Body Imagers, Bottled Liquid Scanners, and Next Gen Explosives Trace Detectors.

These systems are not small. Airports in Wichita, Kan., Panama City-Bay County, Fla., and Orange County, Calif. will receive a total of $19.7 million to construct inline baggage handling systems to quickly detect possible explosives.

High reliability and a focus on secure contractors are likely to be key factors in the selection of those who win contracts for this equipment. With the low volumes of products destined for larger airports, U.S. boardmakers have a nice business opportunity.

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