When will airports stop banning liquids belonging to passengers in bags?

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – Liquids in 100 ml containers and electronic devices from bags have been a staple of air travel for nearly 16 years. However, new technology is already available at many airports around the world that allows this rule to be repealed, and some are now beginning to get rid of this ban.

In October 2021, Shannon Airport in western Ireland announced its new scanning security system, which was installed at a cost of 2.5 million euros (about $ 2.6 million).

Thanks to this system, liquids and electronic devices can now stay in bags, with no restrictions on the amount of liquids.

In October 2021, Shannon Airport in western Ireland announced a new security system. , Plain textCredit: Courtesy Shannon Group

Shannon Group communications chief Nandy O’Sullivan told CNN that the system was “one of the projects Shannon Group has undertaken during a period of severe travel constraints in the airline industry.”

Donegal Airport, located in northwestern Ireland, also followed the same steps during the installation of the new technology, removing the requirement to place liquids in 100-millimeter containers.

Better security, shorter queues

We have the technology needed to end the ban on liquids at airports.  Why has it been implemented so far?
A woman undergoes a security check at Shannon Airport, Ireland. , Plain textCredit: Courtesy Shannon Group

So how does this new CT technology work? And what airports do you actually use? Why do more countries not lift their restrictions?

As with the CT scans we know in hospitals, airport security scanners are replacing traditional two-dimensional X-rays with more accurate three-dimensional images.

“You can get a lot of information from a 2D image, but if you have a 3D object, you can get a lot of information from a 2D image,” said Kevin Riordan, Head of Checkpoint Solutions at Smiths Detection, which provides security. Shannon. equipment and a world leader in CT technology. dimensions in your hand, you will have more information. “

Shannon Airport estimates that the time passengers spend passing security check has been halved due to new technology and it is no wonder Riordan noted that passenger feedback has been very positive at airports where new cars are being tested.

The fluid embargo was imposed worldwide after a transatlantic terrorist plot was foiled in August 2006, in which a group planned to detonate liquid explosives on multiple flights.

gradual reduction

We have the technology needed to end the ban on liquids at airports.  Why has it been implemented so far?
Thanks to this system, containers with liquids and electronics can now stay in the bag. , Plain textCredit: Courtesy Shannon Group

Computed tomography (CT) technology started to become titles in 2018.

The scanners were tested at major airports, including London Heathrow Airport, New York John F. Kennedy Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol.

A year later, Heathrow announced a 50 50 million (about $ 62 million) investment to phase out the technology by 2022.

And in July 2020, it was announced that London Southend Airport would be the first in Britain to give up passengers to remove bottles of liquids and electronic devices from their bags before undergoing security checks.

Schiphol Airport has also used CT technology at all of its checkpoints since 2020, airport spokesman Dennis Mueller told CNN.

But unlike Southend or Donegal airport, it is a major international hub.

While it is no longer necessary for its passengers to comply with the requirements regarding liquids, the airport advises them to use 100 ml containers, to avoid problems when traveling to other jurisdictions.

employment restrictions

And widespread staff shortages have been reported at airports and airlines around the world, leading many to predict a “summer of chaos”.

Smiths Detection is one of a small group of companies in CT technology.

It is an “ongoing process for us as suppliers,” Riordan explained.

Current staffing constraints are creating pressure to design more efficient operations. CT is the best out there, but is there any smart way to use it to get the most out of it?

A novelty is multiplexing.

During it, “a torrent of bags is inserted through a machine and the pictures are sent to (three or four) different operators, not just one operator per car. This is a way to compensate for the lack of staff, and increase the number of passengers ”.

What about the cost?

The cost of implementing this new technology is not cheap and smaller airports, already struggling with the impact of COVID-19, may consider these updates a challenge.

And when countries ask for updates, more airports will be squeezed, but until then, it depends on feasibility studies.

It is too early to predict how fast things will progress, but with airports like Shannon and Schiphol at the forefront, we may be able to see developments in the coming years.

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