Enabling faster and safer journeys at the airport

From check-in to passport control to cabin baggage screening, there are many hoops that the average passenger must jump through before they can get onto their plane. Most passengers will understand that these steps are there for their safety, and no responsible airport or Government would ever compromise on this, but fortunately the use of cutting-edge technology can make our journeys both faster and safer.

On 25 August 2019 the Government announced plans for all major UK airports to introduce innovative 3D cabin baggage screening equipment. This technology will improve security by giving airport staff better images of cabin baggage. Consequently, once this technology is fully rolled out passengers in future may be able to keep their laptops and liquids (perhaps even above 100ml!) in their baggage while it is screened. This will make flying with just cabin baggage a much smoother affair.

This technology is not just a fantasy – it has already been in use at one airport in the UK. In June of this year Heathrow Airport announced that it is investing over £50m to roll out this 3D equipment across its terminals by 2022, starting first with a trial of new computed tomography (CT) security equipment.  If you or your loved ones have ever had to do a CT scan in hospital then this technology may sound familiar to you. CT scanners for cabin baggage use the same basic technology, enabling airport staff to see inside baggage without opening it, just like a medical CT scan allows doctors to see inside patients. What has changed in recent years is the speed of the machines, which now enables them to be used for cabin baggage, not just for checked baggage as it has for the last two decades.

ADS is proud to say that one of its member companies has been supporting the trial at Heathrow Airport, and the UK’s security and resilience sector is ready to support the Government’s wider plans to roll this technology out by 1 December 2022. This is a prime example of how innovation in science and technology by the UK’s security and resilience sector can have a tangible impact on people’s lives, just like the 250+ eGates – also supported by some ADS member companies – at the UK border have enabled quicker travel into the UK. All passengers: watch this space for further developments!