The UK’s major airports have until mid-2024 to roll out advanced CT security scanners – similar to ones used in hospitals – which will provide a high-resolution 3D scan of bags with the aim to reduce queues and wait times in airports.
According to The Times, ministers have been carrying out a review and a formal announcement is expected before Christmas.
Current airport restrictions require passengers to hold no more than 100ml of liquids, and they must be placed in a clear plastic bag.
The rules have been in place since November 2006, after a previous complete ban on liquids in the cabin was enforced three months earlier due to a foiled terror attack in which liquid explosives hidden in drinks bottles could have brought down 10 planes.
However, the new scanners will allow staff to examine a bag from every angle, unlike current scanners which only produce a 2D image of luggage.
The trial of the new technology was first announced in 2019, but was delayed due to the pandemic.
John Holland-Kaye, the chief executive of Heathrow, told The Times: “We are slowly rolling them out.
“We have just started the expansion of the security area in Terminal 3 which will have more CT scanners and have a deadline of mid-2024 from the DfT. By then the normal passenger experience will be that liquids stay in bags.”
The new scanners have already been introduced at Shannon airport in Ireland this year, and have reduced passenger wait times at security by half.