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UK airports could axe limits on liquids in cabin luggage

Restrictions on liquids and laptops in hand luggage could be removed within two years due to the rollout of new 3D scanners.

Since November 2006, passengers taking liquid in their cabin baggage are limited to transparent plastic bags with a maximum capacity of 100 ml, which must be presented to security personnel.

But The Times reports that ministers reviewed a trial at Heathrow Airport, which began in 2017, of 3D scanners already in use at US airports that allow staff to zoom in on the contents of a bag and make rotate images for inspection.

We’re rolling them out slowly

John Holland Kaye

The BBC added that security restrictions for liquids and laptops in hand luggage could be lifted from mid-2024.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye told The Times: “We are rolling them out slowly.

“We have just started the expansion of the Terminal 3 security area which will have more CT scanners and will have a deadline of mid-2024 from [Department for Transport].

“Until then, the normal passenger experience will be for liquids to remain in the bags.”

The Times said those who do not remove items from their bags or who travel with large bottles of liquids are the leading cause of delays at airport security.

Boris Johnson announced plans as Prime Minister in 2019 for all major UK airports to introduce new 3D cabin baggage screening equipment.

Government officials said at the time that once in place, the 100ml liquid limit may no longer apply.

The equipment was due to be rolled out over the next few years, with the Department for Transport requiring all major UK airports to have the technology by December 1, 2022.

But that delay has been affected by the pandemic, with passenger numbers reduced due to travel restrictions in place across much of the world.

Figures from the International Air Transport Association for September showed passenger traffic levels had reached just 73% of pre-Covid levels.

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