UK airports granted extensions to install ‘cutting-edge’ security technology

UK airports granted extensions to install 'cutting-edge' security technology
The UK remains at the forefront of the installation of the next generation technology, the DfT stated (Image credit: Adobe Stock)

Some UK airports are to be given more time to install security technology that could spell an end to tiny toiletries, with serious financial penalties planned for those which fail to meet the new deadlines, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced today.

First announced in 2018, the new scanners detect prohibited items with greater accuracy, meaning security staff can work more efficiently and passengers no longer need to take items out of their hand luggage, which the DfT said makes the process simpler and saves time during security screening.

Once in place, travellers will also be able to take greater quantities of liquids through security, meaning an end to 100ml limits.

The extensions to the June 2024 deadline are being granted to those airports required to install the new kit, meaning passengers should still check the security requirements for liquids and large electronic items at their departure airport before travelling this summer.

Extensions have been granted for up to a year and it is the responsibility of airports to install this “cutting-edge” technology.

Mark Harper, the UK transport secretary, said: “These cutting-edge scanners will make air travel safer and easier for passengers by strengthening security even further.

“The UK is leading the world with its rollout of this technology, but it’s important we give those airports yet to meet the deadline a second chance to get the job done.

“Until they do, passengers should continue to check before travelling.”

The government is also looking to introduce financial penalties for those airports that miss any further deadlines.

Powers to achieve this under the Aviation Security Act will be explored and taken forwards in the coming months.

Even with these extensions, the UK remains at the forefront of the installation of the next generation technology, with no other European country matching the scope and scale of the rollout at UK airports, according to the DfT.

Tim Alderslade, CEO of industry trade group Airlines UK, said: “Delivering these changes throughout all UK airports will be key to improving airline passengers’ experience.

“The extension of the deadline for those airports who require it will ensure simplicity and ease for customers during this transition.”

Due to issues such as the global supply chain’s continued recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, some airports have been unable to upgrade their security checkpoints before the 1 June deadline announced at the end of 2022. Extensions have been given on a case-by-case basis.

The DfT stated it recognises that installing the new security equipment at busy airports has been a logistical challenge, with some airports having to undertake significant construction work to allow the new, extremely heavy equipment to be fitted.

In some cases, airports have been required to construct entirely new screening halls.