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UK Airports Get One-Year Extension to Install Next-Gen Scanners - BLOOMBERG

APRIL 05, 2024

(Bloomberg) -- The UK government has pushed back the deadline for some airports to install next-generation security scanners that won’t require passengers to remove liquids and electronic items from hand-held bags.

Airports struggling to meet the June deadline now have an extra year to switch over to the advanced luggage scanners, the Department for Transport said in a statement on Thursday. The government is considering serious financial penalties for airports that fail to meet the new target, the department said. 

The extension, which applies to large airports and was made on a case-by-case basis, means passengers traveling through UK airports will have to stick to the 100-milliliter bottle restriction for another year in case they end up in a security lane with the older scanners. 

The original cutoff for implementing the new equipment was 2022, but the government delayed the date until June 2024 because of the pandemic. Airports said the summer deadline was ambitious, with the UK’s four largest hubs set to miss the switch-over, Bloomberg News reported in January.

The Manchester Airport Group, which operates London Stansted, Manchester and East Midlands hubs, has been given an extension to the deadline as it expects the project to be fully complete next year. The airports will have the scanners up and running in many of the security lanes by June, MAG said in an emailed statement.

London Gatwick said in January that it had pushed back on the previous deadline over concerns of passenger disruption during the busy summer travel season. The hub said it will have made significant progress by June and plans to finish installing the remainder of the scanners in the first quarter of 2025. 

Read More: UK Airports Poised to Miss Deadline to End Liquid Searches

London Heathrow had no immediate comment. London City Airport has already installed the machines.

UK Transport Secretary Mark Harper said in the statement it was important to give certain airports “a second chance to get the job done,” and that it was their responsibility to install the scanners.

Birmingham Airport is among the airports on track to have all its scanners in place by the June deadline. Chief Executive Officer Nick Barton said last month that the West Midlands hub has doubled up on staff to ease the flow of passengers and bags through the scanners.

“We are putting a lot of money into it to make sure we get off to the best possible start,” he said.

--With assistance from Charlotte Ryan.


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