Airport Security: Important Considerations

Since the 9/11 bombings, airport security has become increasingly important at all levels. As a part of this emphasis, controlling access by vendors, employees and government officials has become a vital component of ensuring that unauthorized individuals do not gain access to airport facilities. For this reason, effective and secure ID badge systems have become vitally important in maintaining airport security.

Physical Badge Security

In order to be effective, ID badges must be impossible to duplicate, as well as immediately identifiable by security personnel. The methods that can be used to achieve this are holographic lamination, the incorporation of photographic ID on the card, and the use of magnetic stripes.

Holographic lamination allows for the creation of a card that is difficult to effectively duplicate. By varying the hologram, an airport can use the holographic patterns to indicate what areas the cardholder is authorized to be in, permitting security personnel to effectively control the movements of employees and outside vendors alike.

By including a photographic ID of the employee, the card becomes useless to anyone other than the employee. This makes maintaining manned security control points an effective policy, as every can be compared to the picture on his or her ID badge. By fusing the photo to the substrate of the card, it becomes impossible to replace the photo with another image.

Access Control, Magnetic Stripes and ID Badges

Magnetic stripes provide an effective method of internal airport access control. By requiring the use of a magnetic stripe enabled ID card to open doors and access equipment, any card can be programmed to permit access to only those regions the worker is authorized to enter. In addition, as part of a larger security system, a record can be maintained not simply of what doors were unlocked using the card, but how long the individual remained in any given area.

Finally, unlike physical locks, revoking an expired or lost ID badge’s access privileges is a simple process that can be accomplished from a central location. This is in dramatic contrast to establishments that make use of physical keys, where even a single lost key can require a wholesale and inconvenient process of changing all the compromised locks.

ID Badges, Security, and Preparing For the 21st Century

In today’s security conscious world, maintaining effective forms of access control is vital. The use of effective and hard to duplicate ID badges is one method that can be used to ensure that airports maintain effective control over all local employees and exterior vendors. By doing so, employees and customers alike can be assured of a secure environment.

Image by Inha Leex Hale and licensed through Creative Commons.

Michael Gardner is a sales rep at, an online retailer providing complete photo ID solutions including industry leading ID badge printers including the Evolis Zenius Classic Printer and the ZXP 3 Series Printer From Zebra Technologies.


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