New airport scanners could mean quicker trip through security
London’s Heathrow Airport is trialing X-ray scanners that could one day spell the end of passengers frantically removing toiletries from their hand luggage — or at least, that’s the plan.
The scanners feature 3D imagery, meaning security staff can see objects inside people’s baggage from all angles.
The scanners, which will be trialed over the next six to 12 months, can also detect hidden explosives, the United Kingdom’s Department for Transport (DfT) said in a statement.
“If successful, this could lead in future to passengers no longer needing to remove items from hand luggage for screening,” the department said.
Similar scanners have also been tested at John F. Kennedy airport in New York and Schiphol airport in Amsterdam.
Currently, passengers must remove all laptops and liquids such as water, shampoo and toothpaste from their hand luggage before passing through security.
That said, the DfT maintained that the “rules remain the same — passengers should expect to remove items if requested during the screening purposes.”
Passengers around the world were banned from carrying liquids on board in August 2006, following the discovery of an alleged terror plot aimed at airliners flying between Great Britain and the United States.
The rules were later eased, and passengers can now take liquids in containers under 100 milliliters carried in a separate, transparent resealable bag.