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New airport screening technology to eliminate 100ml liquid rule from 2024

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Airports will be required to install new security technology by June 2024 that will see the end of rules banning receptacles containing more than 100ml of liquid from cabin luggage.

Passengers will be able to leave liquids and large electrical items in cabin luggage as they go through security in a bid to reduce hassle for passengers and speed up security queues.

As changes will be gradual over the next two years, the current rules will continue to apply for the time being, but some airports may introduce the new systems sooner.

Heathrow Airport, which has been trialling the new technology since 2019, said that at least 60 per cent of bags rejected at security checkpoints are subjected to hand searches because passengers haven’t removed all liquids from bags.

This led to passengers spending an estimated extra 2.1 minutes in security in July this year alone.

Transport secretary Mark Harper said: “The tiny toiletry has become a staple of airport security checkpoints, but that’s all set to change. I’m streamlining cabin bag rules at airports while enhancing security. 

“By 2024, major airports across the UK will have the latest security tech installed, reducing queuing times, improving the passenger experience, and most importantly detecting potential threats. 

“Of course, this won’t happen straight away – this is going to take two years to be fully implemented. Until then, passengers must continue following the existing rules and check before travelling.”

Using CT technology, the new scanners create a 3D X-ray of a bag’s contents, with security staff able to check for prohibited items in greater detail.

Sophisticated algorithms are applied to the scan that can detect weapons and explosives – an upgrade from the current security equipment in airports.

Christopher Snelling, policy director at The Airport Operators Association (AOA), said: “This investment in next-generation security by the UK’s airport operators will provide a great step forward for UK air travel, matching the best in class around the world.

“It will make the journey through the UK’s airports easier and air travel itself more pleasant.”

The new deadline follows several trials conducted at some airports since 2018, which have demonstrated the effectiveness of this new screening equipment. Similar technology is being adopted in many countries globally, which should bring consistency to airport security for travellers.

The current liquids rules were introduced in 2006 following a terrorist threat and have been designed to stop those with hostile intent carrying liquid explosives onto planes.

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