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U.K. Airports to Invest in Latest Security Tech Ahead of 2024 Rule Change

Airports now have until June 2024 to upgrade their screening equipment and processes. Until then, passengers must follow the same rules as now until further notice or unless told otherwise.

The U.K. Department for Transport has confirmed speculation that rules around taking liquids and large electrical items through airport security are set to change by 2024 with the installation of new technology at major airports across the country. 

The current liquids rules, which were introduced in 2006 following a terrorist threat, have been designed to stop those with hostile intent carrying liquid explosives onto planes.

Over the next two years, most major airports will introduce cutting-edge systems into their security checkpoints, ushering in a new era of improved security and passenger experience when going through departures. 

“The tiny toiletry has become a staple of airport security checkpoints, but that’s all set to change,” Transport Secretary Mark Harper said. “I’m streamlining cabin bag rules at airports while enhancing security. By 2024, major airports across the U.K. will have the latest security tech installed, reducing queuing times, improving the passenger experience, and most importantly detecting potential threats.” 

Passengers in the U.K. are currently required to remove tablets, laptops and liquids from their cabin baggage, while liquids have been limited to 100ml and must be in a clear plastic bag. This requirement will eventually be lifted, and the 100ml liquid container limit will be extended to two litres. 

Airports now have until June 2024 to upgrade their screening equipment and processes. Until then, passengers must follow the same rules as now until further notice or unless told otherwise. Crucially, they should check with their specific airport before traveling to see which rules are in place. They should also check the rules for carrying liquids at any airport through which they may transfer during their journey and at their return airport, as many destinations may not have implemented this new technology. 

Christopher Snelling, Policy Director at The Airport Operators Association (AOA), said this investment in next-generation security by the UK’s airport operators will provide a significant step forward for U.K. air travel, matching the best in class around the world. “It will make the journey through the U.K.’s airports easier and air travel itself more pleasant.”

The new deadline follows several trials conducted at some airports since 2018, which have demonstrated the effectiveness of this new screening equipment – which uses CT X-ray technology to essentially provide a 3D image of what’s in passengers’ bags, as well as deploying highly advanced threat detection algorithms. Similar technology is taking place in many countries globally, with airports such as Schiphol and in the U.S. already making use of the technology.

Read more at the Department for Transport

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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