Rules on taking liquids and laptops through airport security are set to be relaxed, the government has announced.
Major UK airports have been set a deadline of June 2024 to install new airport security that will make the rules on carrying no more than 100ml of liquid in containers and removing large electronics from hand luggage obsolete.
The change means that passengers at most airports across the country will be able to carry liquids in containers holding up to two litres in what will be the biggest relaxation of aviation security regulations in decades.
Travellers will also no longer be required to carry the containers in clear plastic bags, or remove laptops or tablets from carry-on luggage at security checkpoints.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said major airports will instead be required to install new technology that will provide security staff more detailed images of what is inside passengers’ bags. The DfT will set out new legislation around the changes in Parliament on Thursday (15 December).
Current airport security rules were introduced in 2006 following a foiled terror plot to blow up planes flying from London to the US with home-made liquid bombs.
Travellers failing to adhere to these regulations is one of the biggest causes of delays at airport security, but it is hoped the new technology will help improve the passenger experience.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “The tiny toiletry has become a staple of airport security checkpoints, but that’s all set to change. I’m streamlining cabin bag rules at airports while enhancing security.
“By 2024, major airports across the UK will have the latest security tech installed, reducing queuing times, improving the passenger experience, and most importantly detecting potential threats.
“Of course, this won’t happen straight away – this is going to take two years to be fully implemented. Until then, passengers must continue following the existing rules and check before travelling.”
The deadline of June 2024 is being introduced after several trials at airports which started in 2018. The CT scanners create a 3D image of what is inside passengers’ bags and the technology is already being used at overseas airports such as Schiphol in Amsterdam and several in the US.
Christopher Snelling, policy director at industry body the Airport Operators Association, added: “This investment in next generation security by the UK’s airport operators will provide a great step forward for UK air travel, matching the best in class around the world.
“It will make the journey through the UK’s airports easier and air travel itself more pleasant.”