Holidaymakers face summer travel chaos as UK airports ‘to miss scanner deadline’

Holidaymakers face summer travel chaos as UK airports ‘to miss scanner deadline’

Holidaymakers planning to travel through four of England’s major airports next summer could face chaos as a deadline to install new scanner technology is set to be missed.

Ministers told airport operators that they had until June 2024 to install advanced CT scanners, enabling the 100ml liquid rule to be scrapped so that passengers can take up to two litres through security when travelling, according to The Times.

However, Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester airports are all reportedly set to miss the deadline for installing the new technology.

Sources told The Times that a delay to the introduction of the scanners is “almost inevitable” to avoid the chaos of conflicting rules at airports over the coming year.

A source said: “It’s going to be a struggle for the big airports. One of the biggest issues they face is fitting the new scanners and retraining staff without impacting the flow of passengers.”

The Government’s plans to lift the airport liquid ban, revealed last winter, will be the most significant change in aviation security in the past 20 years. All major airports are required to meet the deadline.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the move ushers in “a new era of improved security and passenger experience”.

He added: “Airports now have until June 2024 to upgrade their screening equipment and processes.”

Once the change eventually comes into place, passengers will not need to remove laptops and tablets from their cabin bags.

Sources claimed that Heathrow, which has 146 security lanes in total, faces the most significant challenge in meeting the deadline. It has told the Civil Aviation Authority that it will be “difficult to deliver” in the assigned time.

A spokesman for Manchester Airports Group, which includes Stansted, told The Times: “We continue to make good progress at our airports on the introduction of new security screening equipment, as part of the UK-wide programme.

“This is a complex programme of work requiring the expansion of terminal facilities, while at the same time maintaining operations during construction. We are rolling out the new technology lane by lane at Manchester and London Stansted airports, with several new lanes already in operation.”

Heathrow said that it was spending £1bn on the upgrades and that it was focused on delivering the programme as “quickly as practically possible”. Gatwick said it would have made significant progress by June but would complete the programme in early 2025.

Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester airports were contacted by i for further comment.