* Netherlands, Nigeria to install scanners
* PM Brown says checks for explosive traces also likely
By Adrian Croft
LONDON, Jan 3 British airport operator BAA said
on Sunday it would move quickly to install full-body scanners at
London's Heathrow airport after the failed Christmas Day attack
on a U.S.-bound plane.
"Now that the government has given the go-ahead, we will
introduce full-body scanners as soon as practical," a spokesman
for BAA, owned by Spain's Ferrovial (FER.MC), told Reuters.
"It is our view that a combination of technology,
intelligence and passenger profiling will help build a more
robust defence against the unpredictable and changing nature of
the terrorist threat to aviation," he said.
He said BAA, which operates six British airports, was just
looking at introducing the scanners at Heathrow -- Europe's
busiest airport by passenger numbers -- at this stage. He could
not give a timetable for their introduction or say how much the
move would cost.
The Netherlands and Nigeria said last week they would use
full-body scanners at airports after the failed attack on a
U.S.-bound plane by a 23-year-old Nigerian suspect who passed
through both countries.
Full-body scanners, unlike standard archway metal detectors
used in airports around the world, use radio waves to generate a
picture of the body that can see through a person's clothing and
spot hidden weapons or packages.
DOUBTS OVER EFFECTIVENESS
But Britain's Independent on Sunday newspaper cast doubt on
whether the scanners would have been effective in detecting the
type of explosive used in the Christmas Day incident.
BAA said last week the introduction of full-body scanners
would require a change in European legislation.
But Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who ordered a review of
security measures at British airports after the attempted Dec.
25 attack, said on Sunday the scanners would be phased in.
"In airports, people will see gradually being brought in the
use of full-body scanners. They will see checks for explosive
traces. That will be done on hand luggage. Transit passengers
will also be checked ...," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr.
"The scanners are already being ordered by British Airports
Authority (BAA)," he said.
A trial of full-body scanning has been underway at Britain's
Manchester airport, which is not operated by BAA, since October
but a spokesman said last week the airport had taken no decision
on whether it would adopt the technology.
In Germany, Education and Research Minister Annette Schavan
told Bild am Sonntag newspaper Germany could introduce body
scanners later this year. The government has made clear it is
not against the scanners in principle but is trying to guarantee
Italy aims to install full-body scanners at the main
airports of Rome and Milan for flights considered at high risk
of terrorist attack, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni told
Corriere della Sera newspaper on Saturday.
(Additional reporting by Madeline Chambers in Berlin; Editing
by Janet Lawrence)