[Update] New screening equipment to benefit pax

By Andrew Pentol |

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Passengers at UK airports will benefit from quicker and easier airport security checks once new baggage screening equipment is introduced. Source: Gatwick Airport.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans for all major UK airports to introduce new 3D cabin baggage screening equipment by 1 December 2022, according to a UK Department for Transport press release seen by TRBusiness.

In addition to the current security measures in place, the new 3D technology will use advanced imaging systems to keep people even safer by providing security personnel with better images of cabin baggage.

Not only will passengers benefit from quicker and easier airport security checks, but they could also be able to keep liquids and electrical equipment like laptops in their cabin baggage while screened. This could mean that the 100ml liquid limit may no longer apply, enabling passengers to take liquids through security.

PROGRESSIVE ROLL-OUT

Passengers, however, will still be required to remove their laptops and liquids from cabin bags for security screening until the equipment is introduced at airports. The equipment will be rolled out over the next few years, according to the UK Department for Transport.

Francois Bourienne, Chair UKTRF told TRBusiness: “Any initiative that improves the passenger experience, while maintaining high standards of safety and security, is to be welcomed.”

Restrictions on liquids aerosols and gels (LAGs) were implemented following the foiled 2006 terror plot to sabotage aircraft on flights between the United Kingdom and North America using liquid-based explosives disguised as common beverages.

In the years that followed, Australia, Canada, United States and the European Union have coordinated efforts to eliminate this inconvenience and implement technology-based screening for LAGs in a multi-phased approach.

Boris JohnsonEffective 31 January 2014 in the European Union, for example, LAGs over 100ml must be packed in International Civil Aviation Organisation Security Tamper-Evident bags and screened.

The change — which only affected LAGs purchased (and correctly packaged) at airport shops and on board airlines — meant transfer passenger through EU airports would not have to surrender their duty free purchases as was often the case in the past.

Johnson (left) said: “We are home to the largest aviation network in Europe, with millions of people passing through our airports every year for work, holidays and family visits. We’re set to streamline those trips with the rollout of this ground-breaking technology — cutting down hassle for travellers and improving security measures.

“By making journeys through UK airports easier than ever, this new equipment will help boost the vital role our airports play in securing the UK’s position as a global hub for trade, tourism and investment.”

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State For Transport, United Kingdom commented: “The new screening equipment will improve security and make the experience smoother and less stressful for passengers. It could also mean an end to passengers having to use plastic bags or rationing what they take away with them.

“As an outward looking global nation, our transport hubs are more important than ever and investing in our security infrastructure means we are investing in our nation’s future.”

NEW GENERATION EQUIPMENT

Currently, Heathrow Airport is trialling the new equipment which will gradually be rolled out at other UK airports. This equipment has the potential to reduce time required for security screening. With passengers no longer required to put their liquids in plastic bags before being screened, the equipment could significantly decrease the amount of plastic used at major UK airports.

John Holland Kaye, Heathrow CEO remarked: “We’re proud to be at the forefront of this new generation security equipment. This technology will transform the passenger experience, making air travel simple, streamlined and more secure through the UK’s only hub airport.”

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive, UK Hospitality and Chair of the Tourism Alliance concluded: “The new technology being rolled out should make for a smoother, more enjoyable passenger experience and will bolster the UK’s international reputation as traveller-friendly. Having passed through security more quickly and with less hassle, passengers will be able to relax and begin to enjoy their holiday sooner.”

TRBusiness is seeking industry reaction to this significant development and will bring you more in due course.

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