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Upgraded Scanners Coming to UK Airports

Airport scanners with bags and trays going through on conveyor belts
Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Apr 10, 2024
3 minutes read

Some of the UK’s airports have been equipped with advanced CT scanners, which can detect liquids and electronics within bags. This is a game changer, shortening queues at security and allowing people to simply send their bags through without emptying them first. While this won’t stop even the most delayed airports from cancelling flights, it will immeasurably improve flight experiences.

Temporary Measure

Back in 2006, the liquids rule was introduced as a temporary measure. This has since remained in place, and has been anything but temporary.

Under Boris Johnson’s government, he vowed to ease the rules in major UK airports by 2022. This would allow for larger quantities and remove the need to scan liquids separately. Rishi Sunak’s government has since extended the deadline to June 2024.

New Scanners

These powerful CT scanners are being installed throughout all of the UK’s main airports. However, progress isn’t going fast enough to meet the deadline. The Department for Transport has given some airports a 12 month extension, on the condition that they would face a fine if this date is not met.

With half a million people going through airport security every hour worldwide, limitations on liquids is a cause for delays. The smaller liquids rule is also a cause for concern with plastic waste.

The modern computed tomography (CT) scanners are exactly the same type used in medical environments. They’re capable of analysing the molecular structure of bag contents, giving 3D images to security staff. Threats can be identified, as well as any potential dangers with electronics.

Shannon was the first airport to have these scanners installed, having allowed liquids through in containers of any size since March 2022. Since then, Newcastle, Teeside and London City airports have been upgraded.

The Future of Air Travel

Despite tightening air travel restrictions for passengers, there has been a huge move to make use of technology to reduce costs and disruption for everyone involved. This means security will eventually do away with walk-through metal detectors and patting people down.

It’s hoped that, eventually, checkpoints will be staffed and security personnel will be able to study behaviour instead of being fixed to a screen. Corridors will be kitted out with detectors, allowing passengers to be scanned as they walk through without any disruption.

Naturally, different countries and airports will not be the same, as there isn’t uniformity between everyone. Some Scottish airports haven’t had security checks since 2017, for example, while others require at least a three hour wait to get through.

Airport Delays

Similar to how Heathrow ground to a halt when the new liquids rule was implemented overnight, there’s other delays that can affect you as a passenger. Providing your airline was at fault and your flight reached your destination at least three hours later than scheduled, you could be due money back.

Flight delay compensation is worked out based on the length of your trip and the number of hours delayed. The biggest amount you can claim is £520, and this is worked out per passenger. For a family of four, this works out at £2,080!

To see if you are eligible for a flight delay claim, click on the button below to find your flight.