Are UK airports really on track to scrap the 100-milliliter liquid rule in 2024? Here’s what we know

Some of the largest airports in the United Kingdom are facing challenges in meeting the government-set deadline of June 2024 to install new CT security scanners. This delay could have implications for the current 100-milliliter liquid rule that passengers must adhere to when passing through airport security.

Initially, the U.K. government had challenged airports to install these new high-tech scanners by 2022. However, due to logistical challenges, the deadline was later pushed back to June 2024. Once these scanners are installed across U.K. airports, travelers can expect a relaxation of the 100-milliliter liquid rule, as well as the need to remove laptops and electronic items from their carry-on bags during security checks.

It is highly likely that many of the largest U.K. airports will miss the June deadline. London Gatwick Airport, for example, has stated that it plans to complete the installation of the remaining scanners in the first quarter of 2025, after the busy summer peak period. Similarly, London Stansted Airport, Manchester Airport, and East Midlands Airport, which are all managed by Manchester Airports Group, are in the process of rolling out the new technology lane-by-lane. They expect to have the new scanners in place on a large number of their security lanes by June 2024, with the full completion of the program expected the following year. In order to accommodate the new equipment, Manchester and East Midlands airports are also undergoing terminal expansion projects.

Heathrow Airport, the largest airport in the U.K., has invested approximately 1 billion British pounds to revamp its current security systems. It is expected to meet the June deadline, with the new scanners already in use in some terminals. Temporary closures of certain security areas have been necessary to make way for the installation of the new technology. For example, Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Wing in Terminal 3 will reopen between February 22 and 28, while British Airways’ First Wing security area will remain closed for approximately four months.

In contrast, London City Airport and Teesside International Airport are already using the new scanners, while London Luton Airport is on track to meet the June deadline. Despite the delays at some airports, the U.K. Department for Transport has not moved the deadline and is still working towards it. However, certain airports may be allowed slightly longer to comply and fully install the scanners. It is important to note that the Department for Transport did not disclose which airports are on track to introduce the technology by June 1.

The U.K. Department for Transport has emphasized the importance of enhancing security and improving the passenger experience through the implementation of these new scanners. While there have been reports suggesting a further delay in the relaxation of the 100-milliliter liquid rule until 2025, it is understood that if airports meet the June 2024 deadline, the rules will shift at those airports. Smaller U.K. airports are more likely to meet the deadline, with larger hubs following suit later in 2024 and early 2025.

In conclusion, the installation of new CT security scanners at U.K. airports has faced delays, resulting in some airports potentially missing the June 2024 deadline. This delay could impact the relaxation of the 100-milliliter liquid rule and the need to remove laptops and electronic items from carry-on bags. However, if airports meet the deadline, passengers can expect to see a shift in these rules. It is crucial for airports to prioritize security measures while also ensuring a positive passenger experience.

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