Airports given time to install advanced security tech

Posted on 4 April, 2024 by Advance 

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 who fail to meet the new deadlines.

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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 – making the process simpler and saving 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.

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, 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 roll-out 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 forward 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.

Due to issues such as the global supply chain’s continued recovery from the pandemic, some airports have been unable to upgrade their security checkpoints before the 1st June 2024 deadline announced at the end of 2022. Extensions have been given on a case-by-case basis.

The UK government says 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.

Chief Executive of the Airport Operators Association, the trade body for UK airports, Karen Dee, said: "Airports are making excellent progress in delivering these multimillion-pound investment programmes, which will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of aviation security in the years ahead.

"As with any programme of this complexity, there are significant challenges and we are happy the government has recognised these and agreed to extend timeframes for delivery where necessary.

"By adopting this approach, airports can ensure that they are ready to welcome passengers over the upcoming holiday periods and that their journeys are safe, secure and smooth as we make this transition."

Tim Alderslade, CEO of 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."