The end of liquid limits in air travel: a glimpse into the future

With CT scanners, based on computed tomography, up to 0.52 gallons can be carried on a plane in hand luggage: the technology has also arrived at London City Airport

The long-awaited abolition of the 1.27 American pints limit for liquids in carry-on luggage could soon become a reality for air travelers. The recent decision by London City Airport, alongside others such as Teeside and Newcastle, to adopt CT scanners for security checks marks a significant step in this direction.

Advancements in security technology

CT scanners, utilizing computed tomography, offer detailed 3D imaging of baggage contents, allowing for molecular analysis of liquids and swift detection of potential threats within seconds. This innovation has facilitated an increase in the liquid limit onboard to 0,52 gallons, eliminating the need for placing containers in transparent plastic bags.

Benefits for passengers and security authorities

This technological advancement brings a host of benefits. For passengers, it promises greater convenience and less stress, eliminating the hassle of transferring liquids into smaller containers and streamlining the security process. For security authorities, it enhances efficiency, enabling more precise threat identification and reducing the risk of false positives.

Global implementation

The installation of new CT scanners across UK airports by 2024, as mandated by the British government, signifies a further stride toward modernizing and optimizing airport security protocols. While delays in implementation may occur due to machinery availability, the significance of this technology shift in aviation security is unmistakable.

Trailblazing initiatives

Shannon Airport in Ireland has been at the forefront of this technological revolution since March 2022, setting the precedent for allowing liquids, cosmetics, and lotions of all kinds on flights. Similarly, Fiumicino Airport introduced X-ray scanners Eds C3 – Explosive Detection System in 2023, permitting liquids exceeding 100ml in carry-on luggage.

Adapting to contemporary challenges

Initially introduced in 2006 as temporary measures to safeguard airports from potential terrorist attacks, these limits have become increasingly obsolete with technological advancements and evolving security threats. Therefore, the abolition of liquid limits not only enhances the travel experience but also offers a fitting response to current challenges in airport security.

Source: London City Airport

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