Airport security liquid rule change delayed as scanners aren’t ready

New security scanners that save passengers having to take liquids out of their hand luggage in the UK have been delayed by up to a year because some airports are falling behind. The government has admitted that extensions have been granted to several large airports unable to meet its 1 June deadline to fully install the new technology. The Department for Transport did not say which operators had been given the extensions, but it said it would fine those who missed the final target, of June 2025.

London City was Britain’s first major airport to introduce the devices, which allow passengers to take up to two litres of liquid in their hand luggage – ending the hassle of small 100ml containers that must be removed and placed in clear plastic bags.

Heathrow has previously said it expects to have new scanners in all security lanes this summer, while Gatwick expects to complete the programme by the end of March next year.
Manchester Airports Group, which runs Manchester, East Midlands and Stansted airports, said its scanners won’t be fully rolled out until 2025.

The DfT said post-Covid supply chain issues meant checkpoints could not be upgraded ahead of the deadline, which had already been extended from 2022 because of the pandemic.

Extensions have been given “on a case-by-case basis,” it said. “It’s important we give those airports yet to meet the deadline a second chance to get the job done,” said transport secretary Mark Harper. “Until they do, passengers should continue to check before travelling.

“We recognise that installing the new security equipment at busy airports has been a logistical challenge, with some airports having to undertake significant construction work to allow the new, extremely heavy equipment to be fitted. In some cases, airports have been required to construct entirely new screening halls.”

Restrictions for liquids were introduced in 2006 following a foiled terror plot to blow up planes flying from London to the US with homemade liquid bombs. Travellers failing to adhere to them is one of the biggest causes of delays at airport security checks.

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