Liquid ban continues as airport scanner launch delayed

The largest airports in the United Kingdom are slated to fail to meet the deadline for implementing new advanced security scanners, which will eliminate the 100ml liquid limit.

By 1 June 2024, the government instructed major airports to have the high-tech equipment installed. However, none of Heathrow, Gatwick, or Manchester's detectors are anticipated to be operational by that time.

The consumer organisation which cautioned that it might cause confusion over the summer vacations.

The organisation stated that passengers may anticipate that the regulations governing the security of hand luggage have been modified at every airport in the United Kingdom, only to discover that this has not occurred. Such discrepancies may result in security queue delays.

The deadline was declared by the Department for Transport (DfT), which also stated that the detectors would eliminate the need for "tiny toiletries" and increase traveller convenience while enhancing security.

The regulations mandating the transport of liquids through security in transparent plastic bags containing no more than 100 ml were implemented in 2006, subsequent to the thwarting of a plot to detonate a transatlantic flight.

Initially, airports were instructed to implement new detectors by 2022; however, that date was subsequently extended to June of this year.

CT X-ray technology is employed to generate three-dimensional images. This indicates that two litres of liquid can pass through in containers. Likewise, laptops may be stored in purses.

They have been implemented in several other nations, including the United States.

Since 2018, when trials began in the United Kingdom, airports have been implementing them incrementally. Certain airports, such as London City Airport and Teesside, have completed their rollouts. Nevertheless, it is anticipated that London Gatwick, Heathrow, and Manchester will require additional time to fully implement the new equipment throughout their respective channels.

As a consequence, certain sections will continue to utilise the existing scanners throughout the summer vacation of this year, thereby requiring individuals to adhere to the 100ml liquid limits.

According to a source, Heathrow is the largest airport in the United Kingdom with 146 security lanes; therefore, the implementation process had to be meticulously coordinated so as not to impede passenger flow.

It is believed that the airport is collaborating with the government to develop a system for communicating "precise messages" to passengers. Gatwick stated that "substantial progress" will have been achieved in both terminals by June; however, completion of the installation is not anticipated until early the following year, "after the summer high period has passed."

Terminal expansion projects are currently underway at Manchester and East Midlands airports in preparation for the installation of new equipment.

According to information by sources, the DfT may contemplate permitting airport extensions to fully implement installations throughout their premises if it considers it "suitable."

In the event that they fail to meet the deadline without authorization, however, penalties cannot be ruled out.

Travel organisation Abta advised those who are organising summer vacations to verify the regulations at each destination. "When travelling later this year, it is crucial to bear in mind that even if your departure airport in the United Kingdom modifies its regulations regarding liquids, you will still need to verify the corresponding regulations at the airport from which you are returning, as they might differ," Abta advised.