Worldwide in normal times, 500,000 people pass through airport security every hourMany airline passengers say it’s the worst part of traveling – especially the need to confine LAGs (liquids, aerosols and gels) to small containers and remove them from carry-on luggage.
The rules were hastily introduced in 2006 as a “temporary measure”. Despite repeated promises, they still exist.
2019 boris johnson It has vowed to ease rules at major UK airports by December 1, 2022, allowing larger quantities and removing the need to scan liquids individually.
The Rishi Sunak government has now extended that deadline to June 2024. what does that mean?
Simon Calder, former security officer at Gatwick Airport, now independent Travel journalists, can help.
What are the regulations for passenger hand luggage?
For decades, the rules about what you can take in your carry-on luggage have changed in response to attacks — successful or not.
All weapons, whether firearms, knives or explosives, are prohibited in hand luggage. But there are also strict rules about liquids, aerosols, gels, pastes, lotions and cosmetics, even extending to yogurt and soft cheeses.
How did the liquid rule come about?
In August 2006, the airline industry — and confused passengers — woke up to find that safety rules for passengers had tightened virtually overnight. The government announced that it had uncovered a terrorist plot to blow up a transatlantic jet. Heathrow Airport to North America.
The perpetrators aimed to bring IED material onto multiple aircraft. These ingredients are derived from hydrogen peroxide and are designed to be disguised in soft drink containers.
The objective of the terrorists was to assemble a bomb on the plane, then detonate it and destroy the plane. The mastermind was later found guilty of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause an explosion, among other crimes.
In the early hours of August 10, 2006, British Airways bosses got a call telling their passengers that their passengers would not be allowed to bring purses or anything other than purses into the cabin. Even pens have been banned from transatlantic flights on the grounds that the ink they contain is liquid.
A concession was made to nursing mothers: they could pass through checkpoints to fetch milk for their babies, but only if they tasted it first in front of security to prove it was genuine.
The baggage system was unable to handle double or triple the normal amount of items and the ground at Heathrow came to a near standstill. Flight networks in the UK and elsewhere in Europe were also affected.
Three months later, the rules were loosened — but tight restrictions remained. No container can exceed 100ml and they must be carried in a clear resealable plastic bag with a maximum capacity of one liter.
Even the very modest easing of the rules – allowing drinks purchased at airports to pass through checkpoints in sealed “secure tamper-evident bags” (Steb) – has been significantly delayed in its implementation.
Many passengers are still getting caught and losing expensive items they bought at the airport because drinks aren’t allowed through the airport they’re connecting through.
The restrictions were introduced as a “temporary measure” while airport security technology caught up. But progress has been painfully slow.
Is there a technical solution?
Yes, it is already used in airports, eg shannon in western irelandto allow “liquids, gels, pastes, lotions and cosmetics in containers of any size” through security.
The expensive scanner uses computed tomography (CT) as used in medical scanners. The machines analyze the molecular structure of the contents of a passenger’s bag, detect any potential threats, and present a three-dimensional image to security officers.
They can also analyze whether laptops and other electronic devices pose a threat.
Why should we wait?
Progress in improving airport technology has been very slow. 2019 Government to require all major UK airports to have advanced CT scanners at security checkpoints by 1 December 2022.
Boris Johnson said at the time: “By making the journey through UK airports easier than ever, this new facility will help boost the role our airports play in securing the UK’s position as a global center for trade, tourism and investment. important role.”
That didn’t happen: airports faced catastrophic losses as passenger numbers plummeted during the Covid-19 pandemic and didn’t have to make multi-million pound investments.
What’s happening now?
The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) has set a June 2024 deadline for major UK airports to install the necessary equipment to allow passengers to move through security more smoothly.
“Not only will this lead to greater convenience for passengers – as people no longer need to take the time to remove items from their bags – but it will also increase passenger safety as security officers will have more detailed images of what people are carrying ,” said the DfT.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “This little toiletry item has become a staple at airport security checkpoints, but that’s all about to change. I’m simplifying carry-on baggage rules at airports while enhancing security.
“By 2024, the UK’s major airports will be installing the latest security technology, reducing queue times, improving the passenger experience and most importantly detecting potential threats.
“Of course, this won’t happen immediately – it will take two years for it to be fully implemented. Until then, passengers must continue to comply with existing regulations and checks before travelling.”
It’s not entirely clear yet. The DfT talks about “most major airports”, but has not published a list for security reasons.
These airports are likely to include the UK’s top 10 airports by passenger numbers in 2019: Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Stansted, Luton, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Glasgow Airport, Bristol Airport and Belfast International Airport.
It could also apply to Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds Bradford, East Midlands, London City, Aberdeen, Belfast City, Southampton, Jersey, Cardiff and Southend ( These are UK airports with over 1 million annual passenger traffic in 2019).
So is this all right?
Not necessarily: Passenger confusion is a long-standing problem aviation safety. Nothing has changed, although some travelers may infer that it has.
Globally, non-compliance is a key issue for aviation safety professionals and passengers.
Liquids are limited at many airports but can be carried in a traveler’s bag. In the UK and many other countries it is mandatory to remove laptops and tablets such as iPads, but not in some countries.
In Israel, the procedure is completely different. “Passengers should arrive three hours before departure in order to undergo the security screening process,” the authorities said. At times officers would conduct intense questioning and laptops would have to be taken away. But liquids are allowed without restriction.
The main problem: Passengers should not expect aviation safety to be the same globally – or even within the UK. Some smaller Scottish airports, including Barra, Campbelltown and Terry, have not had security checks since 2017.
Will this cost me more?
Airports, which have invested hundreds of millions of pounds in total, will be looking for returns – which could include raising fees. But the new technology should save airports money by reducing staff costs.
Willie Walsh, director-general of the International Air Transport Association (Iata), which represents the world’s airlines, said: “Implementing this technology shouldn’t come with a significant expense. efficiency.”
“It should be possible to deploy quickly. The technology has been successfully used in various airports around the world for a long time, and the passenger experience has been significantly improved.”
Will aviation safety become a permanent pain point?
2019 IATA (Yata) described the current security situation as “no longer sustainable”. It has been working with airports for more than a decade on a project called “Smart Security”.
The walk-through metal detectors and security searches of many passengers should eventually be done away with, with technology assessing possible threats more effectively than humans watching screens.
Passengers should be able to walk unchallenged down corridors lined with detectors and barely realize they’re being checked.
Checkpoints will still be staffed, but security will be freed up to do what people do best, which is to study passenger behavior and identify “persons of interest” for further investigation.