UK to streamline liquids and laptops security rules at airports by June 2024

By Faye Bartle |

Rules about taking liquids and large electrical items through airport security at large UK airports are getting a shake-up.

Rules for taking liquids and large electrical items through airport security at large UK airports are getting a major shake-up.

Passengers departing large UK airports will soon no longer be required to remove liquids and large electrical items from their carry-on baggage to be scanned when passing through security thanks to new technology that’s being deployed.

In what the UK government’s Department for Transport is describing as ‘biggest shake-up of airport security rules in decades’, the move will pave the way for a more streamlined travel experience when heading through departures.

As well as taking the hassle out of the process, the government has said that the new technology will also ‘enhance passenger safety, as security staff will have more detailed images of what people are carrying’.

A deadline of June 2024 has been set for the rules to change, as previously anticipated.

Currently, passengers are required to remove large electricals, such as laptops and tablets, and limit any liquids they are carrying in their hand baggage to 100ml (a rule introduced in 2006) and place them in a clear plastic bag to be scanned separately, alongside their cabin bag(s), when passing through security.

Under the new rules, the current 100ml liquid container limit will also be extended to two litres.

“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,” said Transport Secretary Mark Harper.

“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.”

Passengers at security at Gatwick Airport

The new rules will streamline the security process for passengers at departures. Photo: Massimo Parisi / Shutterstock.com

The new way of processing passengers through security is being made possible thanks to new ‘cutting-edge systems’ that are being installed at security checkpoints at most major UK airports.

The advanced screening equipment utilises CT X-ray technology to essentially provide a 3D image of what is inside passengers’ bags, and deploy ‘highly advanced threat detection algorithms’.

“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,” said Christopher Snelling, Policy Director at The Airport Operators Association (AOA).

“It will make the journey through the UK’s airports easier and air travel itself more pleasant.”

As the changes will be introduced gradually over the next two years, the government has advised that passengers check with airports and airlines before travelling for the latest advice.

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