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Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester Airports Remain Unable to Remove Liquids Limit

Government allows major airports, including London Gatwick, Heathrow, and Manchester, to extend the deadline for implementing new scanners aimed at ending the 100ml liquid limit for hand luggage. The delay, expected to last up to a year, means passengers may continue removing liquids and laptops until June 2025. While smaller airports like Teesside, London City, Birmingham, and Newcastle have new security screening technology in place and anticipate meeting the deadline, larger airports face challenges in installing the required equipment.

The decision to grant extensions comes after airports applied individually, citing various reasons for the delay, including supply chain issues and the need for significant construction work to accommodate the scanners. The new scanners utilize CT X-ray technology to generate 3D images, allowing items to remain inside bags and permitting liquids of up to two litres. Although similar technology is used in other countries, the UK aims to implement it on a wide scale, positioning itself as a global leader in airport security.

Originally, airports were instructed to introduce the new scanners by 2022, with the deadline later pushed to June 1 of this year. Challenges faced by airports include the weight and size of the machines, necessitating structural adjustments to accommodate them. For instance, Heathrow, with its 146 security lanes, requires careful management to avoid disrupting passenger flow during installation.

Manchester Airport’s managing director emphasized that most UK airports are still in the process of switching out their scanners. Passengers are advised to adhere to the existing liquid and device rules until the new scanners are fully operational across all lanes. Additionally, travelers should check the rules at their destination or transfer airports to ensure compliance, as some airports may still enforce the old regulations.

While larger airports grapple with the logistical complexities of installing the new scanners, smaller regional airports like Teesside have found themselves in a more advantageous position due to fewer security lanes and less extensive reconfiguration work required. Despite the challenges, the government’s decision to grant extensions acknowledges the significant hurdles faced by airports in implementing the new technology.

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