Airports will miss government deadline to fully install new security scanners

Manchester Airport will miss a Government deadline to install the latest security scanners that will end the 100ml limit on liquids and make the process easier for travellers, ending the need for ‘tiny toiletries’.

The Government insisted that major airports must install the high tech equipment by June 1, 2024, having extended the previous deadline from 2022.

But Manchester, Heathrow and Gatwick are unlikely to have the service fully installed until 2025.

Consumer group Which? warned this could lead to security queue delays in the peak summer holiday period this year.

Rules requiring liquid items to be taken through security in containers of 100ml or less and put in a clear plastic bag were introduced in 2006 after a plot to bomb a transatlantic flight was foiled.

The new technology uses CT X-ray technology to provide 3D images, which means two litres of liquid can be taken through security, inside bags, and laptops can also be left in travel bags.

Some UK airports, including Teesside and London City Airport, have already installed the latest generation of scanners.

Construction work is under way at Manchester and East Midlands airports, both part of the Manchester Airports Group (MAG) as well as London Stansted, to expand terminals to accommodate the new equipment.

A MAG spokesperson said: “We continue to make good progress at all three of our airports on the introduction of new security screening equipment, as part of the UK-wide programme. This is a complex programme of work requiring the expansion of terminal facilities, while at the same time maintaining operations during construction.

“We are currently rolling out the new technology lane-by-lane at Manchester and London Stansted airports, with several new lanes already in operation. Work is also under way on major construction projects at both Manchester and East Midlands airports to expand the size of the terminals to accommodate the new equipment.

“This will see the new scanners in place on a large number of our security lanes by June 2024, with the full completion of the programme expected the following year.”

Unless the Government extends the deadline yet again, airports failing to fully install the scanners could face financial penalties.

Rory Boland, travel editor at Which?, said: “We’re now going to go into a situation where different (UK) airports have different rules, so at some places you will need to get the liquids out in advance, at others you won’t.

“It is disappointing that we’re in a situation just months ahead of the peak travel period … and major airports aren’t ready.”