Long queues at airport security get even longer as passengers take out laptops and liquids from their carryon luggage before scanning. But this will soon be a thing of the past. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that his government has ordered all airports to install new computed tomography (CT) 3D scanners.
Announcing his plan, Boris Johnson said that the new equipment would boost the vital role of UK airports in securing the country’s position as a “global hub for trade, tourism and investment.”
The advantage of 3D scanners
The new technology 3D scanners are designed to improve security and reduce the time it takes for luggage to be screened. The scanners give a much clearer image of items inside baggage. It allows security offers to view all the contents of a bag from several angles.
The equipment promises to make the entire process seamless and hassle-free for passengers. With the new 3D scanners in place, travellers will not have to take out their laptops and other electronic items. Even liquids can remain inside their bags, which eliminates the inconvenience of digging through each piece of luggage.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, confirmed that the new technology could mean that passengers wouldn’t have to get their laptops out and put any liquids in plastic bags before going through security. He also said that the new technology could scrap the current permit of only 100 ml of liquids.
This will be a boon to passengers who will now be able to carry as much liquid as they would like to. Since 2006 when British police foiled a plot to blow up several planes using explosives carried in bottles, authorities have restricted the amount of liquid that can be carried on flights to 100 ml.
Grant Shapps also added that “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.”
Trial underway at Heathrow Airport
While the trial of the new technology is already underway at some of the terminals in Heathrow Airport, it will be a while before the technology can be implemented in all airports. Heathrow airport authorities said they were spending 50 million pounds on the new 3D scanners.
Heathrow Airport CEO, John Holland-Kaye explained that the benefits of the 3D scanners were two-fold. Firstly, it would provide a much better experience for passengers. Secondly, airport security would be able to detect items that they currently aren’t able to identify. This would make it easier to anticipate threats.
Sources at Heathrow Airport confirmed that this was not the first time a country has moved to simpler security scanning. New scanners were already installed in Schipol airport (Amsterdam) Hartsfield-Jackson airport (Atlanta), and Chicago O’Hare (United States). However, in the United Kingdom, Heathrow will be the first to roll out this new technology.
The Department for Transport has announced that all scanners must be in place in all the major airports across the UK by 1 December 2022.