By the end of the year, passengers travelling through London Luton Airport will no longer have to remove liquids and laptops from their hand luggage for screening, and the 100ml rule on liquids will be relaxed.

The Bedfordshire airport – the UK’s fifth busiest, which served 12 million passengers in 2022 – has appointed tech provider Leidos to install 12 advanced CT cabin baggage scanners at its security checkpoints. Work is under way and the scanners should be operational before the end of 2023.

The Department for Transport has set a deadline of June 2024 for large UK airports to install new security screening technology, ending the 100ml rule on liquids. Advanced CT canners will mean that passengers will be able to take liquids in containers up to two litres in their hand luggage, without the need to remove them for scanning. Laptops will also be able to remain in luggage through the screening process.

One of the new CT scanners that will be introduced to Luton Airport later this year (Photo: Supplied)
One of the new CT scanners that will be introduced at Luton airport (Photo: Supplied)

The new scanners are similar to hospital CT (computed tomography) machines that use X-ray to produce a detailed 3D image of the contents of bags, and incorporate advanced explosive detection algorithms. Luton airport claims that the new technology will allow faster processing of passengers through security.

London Southend Airport began installing CT scanners in July 2020, but Amsterdam’s Schiphol was the first major airport to replace existing hand luggage scanners with the new tech, in May 2021. Shannon airport in Ireland also uses CT scanners, while trials are currently in place at Heathrow and Gatwick. London City Airport will switch over in April. Shannon airport claims CT scanners halve the security screening time for passengers.

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The 100ml liquid restriction has been in place in the UK since a terror attempt to detonate bombs disguised as soft drinks on board transatlantic planes was foiled in 2006. Similarly, laptop devices are scanned separately at airports to ensure they are not concealing explosives.

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