Airport scanner companies queue for business after ‘underpants bomber’

Andrew Clark
London Guardian
Monday, January 18th, 2010

The alleged “underpants bomber” who tried to blow up flight 253 to Detroit on Christmas Day has triggered a vigorous commercial race to cash in on a $600m (£370m) opportunity to fit airports with full-body scanners detecting concealed explosives.

Unnerved by terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s apparent ability to evade detection on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, the US government has pledged to install imaging machines that snap images of passengers’ naked bodies to spot hidden objects that can pass through metal detectors unnoticed. Britain, the Netherlands and other nations are following.

Investors have been quick to spot a rapid profit. One Californian firm specialising in imaging machines, Rapiscan, has seen its shares in its parent company, OSI Systems, leap by 27% since Christmas. American Science and Engineering, is up by 16% and has deployed its chief executive to have his own body scanned on live television.

Analysts say that installing scanners within the US could cost $300m – paid for, in part, by economic stimulus money. As the US urges other nations to scan passengers on US-bound flights, the outlay could double internationally.

TuneUp Utilities 2010

View the original article at London Guardian


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