According to the BBC, the UK government is reportedly considering eliminating security restrictions on liquids and laptops in carry-on bags and personal items within the next two years.

New 3D scanning technology

New technology, similar to CT scanners used by hospitals, can provide a clearer picture of the contents of a bag. A final decision is yet to be made, but the UK’s government is considering implementing the new technology by mid-2024, less than two years from now. The government had a previous date for installing the new scanners, but the installation was delayed due to the pandemic.

CT Scanner Getty

Photo: Getty Images

In 2017, a trial at London Heathrow Airport utilized 3D technology already in place in the United States that allowed staff to zoom in and rotate images of bags for a more thorough inspection. Earlier this year, the United States Transportation Security Administration announced an investment of millions of dollars into new hi-tech airport scanners. But even without the additional investment, passengers in the United States are not required to remove liquids when going through security, just electronic devices like laptops and tablets.

Speaking on the possibility of the implementation of the new technology, a spokesperson for the Department of Transport said,

“We are currently considering the position on the future screening of liquids and electronics being carried through UK airport security checkpoints by passengers. This includes whether liquids and electronics may be left in cabin bags when being screened. A number of UK airports are currently trialling new technology which has the potential to allow this.”

Heathrow Airport Chief Executive, John Holland-Kaye, added,

“We are slowly rolling them out. We have just started the expansion of the security area in Terminal 3 which will have more CT scanners and have a deadline of mid-2024 from the [Department of Transport]. By then the normal passenger experience will be that liquids stay in bags.”

Ministers in the UK are conducting official reviews, and an official announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

Reducing security wait times

Authorities hope that through the implementation of the new scanners, security wait times will be reduced significantly. The most significant cause of delay at airport security in the UK’s airports is passengers having to remove liquids and creams from their bags.

Airport Security Liquids In Bag

Photo: Getty Images

For the past 16 years in the UK, passengers transporting liquids in carry-on bags have been required to place all liquids in one plastic bag, each bottle not surpassing 100ml (3.1 oz). At security, the plastic bags with liquids and electronic devices have to be removed from the carry-on bag for staff to inspect.

The current regulations were put in place in 2006 and are looser than previous restrictions, set in place after the police discovered a terror plot in which terrorists aimed to blow up as many as ten planes leaving London Heathrow, using explosives hidden in liquid bottles. Following the foiled terrorist plot, liquids were banned in the cabin.

Source: BBC

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