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Airports criticise reintroduction of limit on liquids carried in hand luggage

Airports have criticised the Government’s reintroduction of a limit on liquids over 100ml carried in hand luggage at some terminals in the UK.

The Airport Operators Association, the trade body for UK airports, said the move has created “uncertainty” for passengers at the busiest time of the year and left airports with little time to prepare for the changes.

The Government required that all airports install new scanners that would allow for liquids of up to two litres in volume to be stored in hand luggage when passengers go through security.

Bigger airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester missed the latest deadline – set for June 1 this year – for installing the technology because of logistical challenges, the BBC reported.

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However, smaller airports such as London City, Teesside, Newcastle, Leeds-Bradford, Aberdeen and Southend complied on time and dropped the old liquid rules as a result – in the case of London City Airport, as early as spring 2023.

Last Friday, the Department for Transport (DfT) unexpectedly announced that from June 9 the old rule – only allowing liquids, gels and pastes under 100ml to be taken through security – would be reinstated.

The DfT said: “This temporary move is to enable further improvements to be made to the new checkpoint systems and will only affect a small number of passengers.”

However the Government’s move has caused concern among airport bosses who say they fear staff will not have enough time to respond to the change.

Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, said: “These latest changes announced on Friday, instigated with very little notice, have created uncertainty for passengers just as airports enter their busiest periods of the year.

“It has also put airport operators in a challenging position, with very limited time to prepare for the additional staffing and wider resources that this will require, and no clear idea of when this issue will be resolved.”

A DfT spokesperson responded: “The temporary reintroduction of the 100ml liquid restriction at some airports is to allow time to further improve systems.

“It only affects those travelling from six regional airports where next generation security checkpoints (NGSC) were already in full operation – around 6% of all UK air passengers.

“For most passengers, security measures will remain unchanged from those in place since 2006.

“Passengers should continue to check security requirements with their departure airport before travelling.”