Easing of airport security liquid rules delayed again in disappointing setback for holidaymakers

4 April 2024, 08:11 | Updated: 4 April 2024, 09:44

Major airports in the UK have confirmed they won't be introducing the technology this year.
Major airports in the UK have confirmed they won't be introducing the technology this year. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Holidaymakers will have to wait another year before the easing of airport liquid rules can be fully implemented.

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Major UK airports were scheduled to introduce fast-track scanners to enable the relaxation of rules about carrying liquids in hand luggage by June 1.

The government has now granted airports a 12-month extension on a case-by-case basis to give them enough time to complete the work required to introduce the new technology.

The scanners are designed to provide more detailed images of luggage, meaning passengers would be able to carry up to two litres of liquids in their hand luggage when passing through airport security.

This would override the current 100ml limit, which also dictates passengers must place the liquids in clear plastic bags.

Passengers would also no longer need to remove laptops and tablets from their hand luggage with the new technology.

However, despite excitement from holidaymakers over the new tech, dozens of airports have suffered delays resulting in delays to the initial June 1 deadline.

Supply chain delays and construction difficulties caused by the weight of the machines are among the reasons cited for the set back.

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Airports were granted a 12-month extension on a case-by-case basis.
Airports were granted a 12-month extension on a case-by-case basis. Picture: Alamy

It is the second time the fast-tracking tech has been pushed back after it was originally due to be rolled out in December 2022 by former prime minister Boris Johnson.

But travel restrictions caused by the pandemic meant airports were granted an extension until June this year.

The government has warned that any further non-compliance in the future could result in financial penalties.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said, however, that despite the delay at some airports, not all will be affected as half of passengers flying from UK airports will be processed by the new scanners at the start of June.

It is understood that London Gatwick and Manchester Airports Group, which covers Manchester, East Midlands and Stansted airports, have all confirmed the scanners will not be rolled out until next year at their sites.

London Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport, has not confirmed whether it has been affected by the delay.

The DfT said it could not provide a breakdown of which airports affected by the delays due to security concerns.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper advised passengers to check with the individual airport before travelling, adding that they must be given a second chance to “get the job done”.

Karen Dee, chief executive of trade body the Airport Operators Association, added: "As with any programme of this complexity, there are significant challenges, and we are happy the government has recognised these and agreed to extend timeframes for delivery where necessary."