UK Airports Maintain 100ml Liquid Rule Amid Delay in New Scanners Installation

ByTravelling For Business

April 4, 2024
elimination of the 100ml liquid rule, was set for June 1elimination of the 100ml liquid rule, was set for June 1

UK airports are set to uphold the 100ml liquid rule for hand luggage as the installation of new scanners faces delays, impacting the anticipated ease for summer holidaymakers.

Originally scheduled for scrapping in time for the summer rush, the old hand luggage restrictions will persist as operators of major travel hubs across Britain encounter setbacks in implementing advanced scanners.

The initial deadline for airport operators to integrate sophisticated scanners, enabling the elimination of the 100ml liquid rule, was set for June 1. However, complications stemming from supply chain disruptions and extensive building work have hindered progress at key airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, and Manchester.

Ministers have granted airports an extension until June next year to finalize the upgrades, cautioning passengers to expect the continuation of existing rules throughout the summer season. Plans to lift the ban on liquids, announced in November 2022, mark a significant shift in aviation security, though meeting the June 2024 deadline posed substantial challenges for airports, as industry sources previously warned.

Aviation Minister Anthony Browne acknowledged the delays, emphasizing the need for passengers to prepare as usual while noting that communication regarding checkpoint arrangements rests with airports and airlines.

The introduction of CT scanners, akin to those employed in hospitals, aims to streamline security processes by eliminating the need to remove liquids, laptops, and tablets from cabin bags. Additionally, airports have been instructed to install advanced body scanners resembling those utilized in the United States.

While some airports like London City have completed their upgrades, others are still racing against time. Transport Secretary Mark Harper underlined the importance of affording airports additional time to fulfill requirements, ensuring a seamless transition for passengers.

Despite the progress made, challenges persist, including the financial burden of new scanners and the need to reconfigure security areas in large airports to accommodate the equipment.

Tim Alderslade, Chief Executive of Airlines UK, praised the deadline extension, foreseeing enhanced passenger experience amidst the transition. However, strict penalties await airports failing to meet the revised deadline, as outlined by the Department for Transport.

The 100ml liquid rule, initially implemented following the thwarted transatlantic terrorism plot in 2006, continues to be enforced. The foiled plot involved terrorists planning to use liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks to down seven flights departing from Heathrow.

The introduction of CT scanners heralds a significant advancement in baggage screening, providing operators with high-resolution 3D scans for comprehensive inspection, surpassing the capabilities of older x-ray machines.

While the government refrains from disclosing which airports have been granted extensions, citing security concerns, Karen Dee, Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association, commended the progress made despite challenges, affirming the UK’s commitment to aviation security.

In the face of delays, British airports persevere in their efforts to enhance security measures, ensuring the safety and convenience of travellers in the years ahead.

Commenting on the news, Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association (BTA) said: “The BTA supports the temporary continuation of liquid restrictions at UK airports until June 2025, because it is vital to ensure safety as a top priority for all passengers.  This will be a further inconvenience for business travellers, possibly until next year. The extension will allow our airports crucial time for a hopefully smooth and successful nationwide rollout of the new security technology and processes – which we will support at every stage.

Ultimately, these new security systems, when implemented, will be a huge boost for business travellers, saving time and reducing pre-flight stress by offering a standardised, streamlined and reliable experience across all UK airports.”