Airport sector – Milan Linate and Malpensa Airports Operator


S.E.A. S.p.A. – 20090 Milano Linate Airport – Italy (


Head of the Automated Equipment Dept. – May 2001–  Jan 2014


To revamp the BHS of Linate and Malpensa Terminals 1 and 2 for the insertion of new X-ray EDS and CT EDS for security checks of 100% of all hold baggage by 31th December 2002, in accordance with the ECAC Directive.

The importance of this experience

The experience was very significant due to the speed of the responses, which had to be given throughout the development of the project:

  • immediately after the September 11 terrorist attacks. In less than 20 days, it was necessary to identify the type and requirements, as well as the perspective of X-ray and CT equipment that had to be approved, for the purchase of 8 CT EDS equipment and 24 X-ray EDS equipment;
  • during all the design phases of the 3 BHS systems (which were not initially developed to accommodate the new X-ray EDS and CT EDS equipment);
  • during all the construction and testing phases.

The speed of identification and problem solving, together with the speed of decision making, were the key factors for the project’s success.

The goal was to modify/equip the BHS (Baggage Handling Systems) of Linate Airport and Terminals 1 and 2 of Malpensa Airport with new X-ray EDS (Explosive Detection System) and CT (Computed Tomography) EDS to allow 100% of hold baggage to be security checked by 31th December 2002 in compliance with the ECAC Directive.

Before this Directive entered into force, only the hold bags of American and Israeli flights were checked, and this was done only with non-EDS X-ray equipment, which did not allow the presence of explosives or explosive devices inside bags to be detected quickly and easily.

The first approach (from June 2001 onwards) involved studying how to modify BHS systems to provide security checks of 100% of hold baggage. The study involved market research on manufacturers of X-ray EDS equipment and EDS tomography. This included also conducting field analysis on how to modify the BHS systems’ lay-out and operating logic and find the additional space needed for these adjustments, and also how to pre-size the quantity of equipment needed in the light of expected future increases in traffic.

Additionally, several European airports (Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Paris Charles De Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol, among others) were visited for benchmarking, and meetings were arranged with all the main BHS equipment manufacturers (Siemens, Vanderlande, Sandvik Sorting System, ElsagDataMat, among others) to assess the current situation and the challenges of adopting the new EDS equipment.

At that time, few airports had begun renovating their existing BHS systems, organizing tenders for BHS-improvement projects or purchasing EDS equipment.

The terrorist attacks of 11th September 2001 expedited everything however. Immediately after, from 12 September onwards, it became mandatory to:

  • establish the exact quantity and type of equipment required;
  • determine the layout and operating logic of the modified BHS units; and
  • prepare the investment authorization request.

The investment was then approved on 30th September 2001, and the X-ray and CT EDS equipment procurement processes consequently started with the utmost urgency.

The first installations of the equipment and  training of security staff would need to happen within a short space of time.

All the equipment arrived at Linate and Malpensa Airports by the scheduled dates, whereupon all the BHS systems (at Linate, and Malpensa Terminals 1 and T2) had been upgraded by 31st December 2002. This involved a huge effort to successfully manage installation, troubleshooting, commissioning and testing, among other things.

Activities carried out and approaches adopted

BHS at 3 locations were upgraded as follows:
– Linate:

  • 4 X-ray EDS;
  • 2 CT EDS machines; and
  • 1 X-ray EDS machine for Out Of Gauge bags.

– Malpensa T1:

  • 12 X-ray EDS machines;
  • 6 CT EDS; and
  • 2 X-ray EDS machines for Out Of Gauge bags.

– Malpensa T2:

  • 4 X-ray EDS machines
  • 2 CT EDS machines, and
  • 1 X-ray EDS machine for Out Of Gauge bags.

This intervention was carried out at all three passenger terminals simultaneously, working day and night, to meet the end-of-December 2002 completion deadline.
Many discussions were held with the S.E.A. teams for security, maintenance, design, airport coordination, Handlers and also the BHS manufacturers and integrators. This required a huge deployment of resources to implement all the functions and operating procedures associated with the BHS systems’ new configuration and features.
The reaction time for each problem needed to be minimized as much as possible so as to avoid wasting time, and decisions needed to be made extremely fast.
Top management also received weekly updates on the project’s progress, critical issues, challenges faced and resolved, changes to milestone deadlines and actions taken to reduce delays.

Skills employed

The project’s successful implementation within the scheduled timeframe demonstrated a high level of professional commitment, remarkable resilience, a willingness to face firsthand very sensitive and important issues, and an ability to take quick decisions, including difficult ones, and to involve resources at all levels to achieve the same, collective corporate goal.
Having completed the above work, the security managers coordinated with each other to learn lots of new information regarding airport security, security management processes and best practices for managing a BHS system that is integrated with X-ray and CT equipment.


At midnight on 1st January 2003, all 3 BHS systems (at Linate and Malpensa Terminals 1 and 2) managed to perform security checks on 100% of hold bags, thus fully reaching the target deadline set by the ECAC regulations.
In the following days, however, various interventions were required to optimize and address challenges that hadn’t yet emerged during the final commissioning and testing phases.