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London City airport will become the UK’s first to scrap restrictions on travelling with liquids — and in time for the Easter holidays.
Airport bosses said all four of its security scanners will be upgraded to new-generation CT machines, similar to those used in hospitals, by the end of March. The move will allow passengers to take up to two litres of liquids through security in their hand luggage. There will also be no need to remove laptops from bags.
It was revealed in November that ministers were poised to announce the scrapping of all rules on liquids and hand luggage once the CT security machines were in place at airports.
Major airports in the UK have been given a deadline of June 2024 to install the technology, which produces a high-resolution 3D scan of passengers’ bags and allows operators to inspect luggage from every angle. Older machines produce only a 2D image.
City airport, in London’s Docklands, has introduced the machines more than a year ahead of deadline. People failing to remove items from their bags or travelling with large bottles of liquids and creams is the biggest cause of delays at airport security.
“The good news for anyone planning a holiday or a business trip is that we will be the first mainstream UK airport to offer a fully CT security experience from the end of this month,” said Robert Sinclair, the airport’s chief executive.
“The new lanes will not only cut hassle but also queuing times, which I know passengers will love.”
City already has two new-generation CT scanners in operation. The airport said: “A final new CT scanner will be added at the end of March, meaning anyone flying in the run-up to Easter will be able to keep laptops and liquids of up to two litres inside their bags.”
The 100ml rule was introduced in the wake of a foiled Islamist transatlantic terror plot in 2006 and was anticipated to be a temporary measure. Terrorists had planned to down seven flights departing from Heathrow using liquid explosive disguised as soft drinks. It would have been al-Qaeda’s largest terror attack in the West since 9/11.
Mark Harper, the transport secretary, said: “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.”
Trials of the new scanners have been under way at airports since 2018. The technology is already being used at Schiphol in Amsterdam and in several US airports.