Only five airports ordered to install new scanners will meet deadline

Just three of the 17 airports the Department for Transport ordered to install new 3D security scanners by this June have so far complied – Newcastle, London City and Aberdeen – and another two, Luton and Birmingham, report they will comply by June, a Travel Weekly survey has found.

But 12 of the UK’s 17 biggest airports, handling about 87% of UK passengers, won’t meet the deadline until at least next year.

Some passengers at these airports – including Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Stansted – will experience the new scanners, but none can be certain of security arrangements on their return flight.

A leading aviation source said: “Passengers need to be aware it’s not going to be consistent and adhere to the existing security rules.

MoreAirports given more time to install new scanners

Advantage Travel Partnership fears airport delays over scanners policy

“They may be pleasantly surprised when they get to the airport and if lucky won’t have to remove liquids from bags. But that is just the UK side of things. There is a high likelihood the airport they fly home from won’t have the latest scanners. If in doubt, stick to the 100ml rules.”

Industry sources blame the government for any confusion after it extended a June 1 deadline for airports to install the latest scanners last month following lobbying by airports.

Wholesale use of the scanners would remove the 100ml restrictions on liquids in carry-on bags, with the DfT claiming when it announced the deadline in December 2022: “The era of the tiny toiletry is over.”

Now the DfT says: “Extensions have been granted for up to a year on a case-by-case basis.” But it has not identified the airports in or out of compliance.

Sunvil managing director Chris Wright warned last month of “excitement at not having the 100ml restrictions on liquids” and suggested: “A lot of customers are going to rock up at an airport unprepared.”

A senior airline source denied there is a risk of “chaos” but urged: “Travel exactly as you do today unless an airport states otherwise and don’t assume it will be the same in both directions.

“We urge caution because airports at the other end of routes aren’t ready, and we want to avoid people turning up with expensive liquids, which have to be confiscated.”

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.