The British government said on Thursday that it will remove the onerous regulations that prevent liquids from being packed in hand luggage totally over the next two years.
In order to avoid having to remove liquids and bulky electronics from hand luggage, the Department for Transport (DfT) claims it has given major airports like Heathrow, Gatwick, and Birmingham until 2024 to deploy the newest generation of Computed Tomography (CT) scanners.
The government has determined that the scanners are so good that current limits can be drastically relaxed. Some airports have already deployed a small number of CT scanners as part of an ongoing trial of the technology.
After the transatlantic liquid bomb plot was thwarted by British and American security services in 2006, the present restrictions that have become the scourge of travelers everywhere were swiftly put into place.
The strategy involved carrying liquid bombs onto commercial aircraft by disguising them as bottles of well-known soft drinks, exposing a significant weakness in the airport security system.
Limiting the number of liquids that passengers could bring on board has been the only effective approach to reduce the risk posed by liquid bombs for the previous 16 years, but CT scanners have been shown to close the liquid’s susceptibility.
In order to identify firearms, explosives, and other forbidden items, including liquid explosives, CT scanners provide a 3-D image of the contents of luggage.
They are now in use in several airports across Europe and the US, allowing travelers to experience a streamlined pre-flight security procedure without having to remove liquids or gadgets from their carry-on bags.
However, the British government’s proposals to go a step further and virtually abolish liquid limitations. Passengers will be permitted to bring up to 2 liters of liquids in their hand luggage under new legislation that has been submitted to parliament.
“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,” commented Transport Secretary Mark Harper on Thursday.
“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,” Harper continued.
The aviation industry believes that relaxing the current regulations will result in significant cost savings and save time for both personnel and passengers, notwithstanding the high expense of installing new scanners.
But the current liquids limitations continue to apply until all the scanners are set up.