In a recent update, the UK’s three busiest airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester – have announced a delay in meeting the government’s deadline for installing advanced CT scanners. These scanners, capable of producing high-resolution 3D images, are critical for lifting the current 100ml limit on liquids in hand baggage. The deadline set by the Department of Transport for 1 June 2024 seems unattainable, with Gatwick and Manchester expecting completion in 2025 and Heathrow yet to specify a completion date for its four terminals.
Introduced in December 2022, the government’s directive was aimed at enhancing airport security while easing restrictions for travelers. Once operational, these scanners will allow passengers to carry up to two liters of liquid in their carry-on bags, significantly reducing the need for travel-sized toiletries.
The 100ml limit, a security measure introduced in 2006 following a terrorist threat, has long required passengers to carry small quantities of liquids in clear plastic bags, separate from their hand luggage. This rule has been a point of inconvenience for millions of travelers over the years.
London Gatwick, however, reports “significant progress” in installing these scanners in both its terminals. A spokesperson stated that the major installation phase is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2025, post the summer peak period.
This announcement comes after London City Airport successfully scrapped the 100ml rule in April 2023, following the installation of these advanced scanners. Teesside International Airport has also equipped itself with these scanners, setting a precedent for others to follow.
The delay by Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester airports highlights the challenges in modernising airport security infrastructure and the continuous effort to balance safety with passenger convenience.