CT technology expected to ease passenger stress and cut queues
Airport security queues at London’s Heathrow Airport could soon be less stressful for passengers. Upon the introduction of new 3D scanners, passengers will be able to keep liquids and laptops in their hand baggage.
Following successful trials, the airport plans to spend £50m on the new scanners across its four terminals by 2022.
Used in hospitals to scan patients, computed tomography (CT) scanners produce more detailed images, allowing security staff to assess cabin bags with electronic equipment and liquids inside.
Relaxation of rules
The technology is expected to lead to a relaxation of current rules, where passengers may only carry toiletries or medicine in individual containers of 100ml or less, with items placed in a separate, clear plastic bags to pass through security. The changes should cut queuing times, as well as reduce plastic waste. It is hoped the improved technology could end the liquids ban altogether. However, this would require the scanners to be installed at all airports, an expensive procedure that could take several years beyond Heathrow’s 2022 target.
The CT technology is used at some airports in Europe and the US – including Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and JFK in New York – but Heathrow was the first UK airport to install the scanners. “This cutting-edge equipment will not only keep the airport safe with the latest technology but will mean that our future passengers can keep their focus on getting on with their journeys and spend less time preparing for security screening, ” said Heathrow’s chief operations officer, Chris Garton.