Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester airports delay implementation of new security scanners


Passengers at major airports will continue to face restrictions on carrying liquids in their hand luggage this summer, as the deadline for new scanners has been extended.

According to sources, London Gatwick, Heathrow, and Manchester airports are expected to miss the June 1 rollout date for the new scanners. The Department for Transport attributes the delays to legitimate reasons.

Airports had to individually apply for year-long extensions, potentially extending the requirement to remove liquids and laptops from hand luggage until June 2025. Some smaller airports, such as Luton, London City, and Teesside, have met the deadline.

The Civil Aviation Authority will impose financial penalties on airports failing to meet deadlines, the DfT stated.

The introduction of restrictions on liquids, requiring containers of 100ml or less in a clear plastic bag, dates back to 2006 following a foiled plot to bomb a transatlantic flight.

The new scanners utilize CT X-ray technology, allowing items to remain in bags, and permitting liquids up to two liters. While already in use in some countries like the US, the UK claims to be the first to attempt such widespread adoption.

Originally set for 2022, the deadline for airports to implement new scanners was moved to June this year. Supply chain issues and the need for significant construction have been cited as challenges. The heavy X-ray machines, akin to those used in hospitals, may require reinforced floors.

Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, welcomed the government's acknowledgment of the challenges and extension of delivery timeframes.

Chris Woodroofe, managing director at Manchester Airport, advised passengers to comply with existing regulations until new scanners are fully operational. Passengers are also advised to check regulations at their destination or transfer airports.

Teesside Airport's managing director, Phil Forster, acknowledged the difficulties larger airports face due to the weight and expense of the scanners, contrasting with smaller regional airports' advantages. P

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