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London City Airport to relax requirements for liquids next year in UK first

London City Airport - vladimir zakharov/Getty Images
London City Airport - vladimir zakharov/Getty Images

London City Airport will no longer require travellers to take liquids out of their hand luggage from next April, ahead of an expected ripping up of curbs on the size of bottles they can take on board planes.

The airport said it was replacing its X-ray machines with new CT scanners which will mean holidaymakers will no longer have to take liquids out of their hand luggage, making it quicker for people to pass through security.

The £12m upgrade, expected to be completed by next summer, will see London City Airport be among the first to install hi-tech CT scanners, amid reports airports have been given until the middle of 2024 to make the changes to their security technology.

Earlier this week, it emerged that the Government was considering ripping up all security restrictions on liquids and laptops, thanks to the new scanners which could differentiate between materials.

This would mean people would no longer be limited to 100ml bottles of liquids when they travel by plane. A formal announcement, stating that the restrictions will go within two years, could come within weeks.

London City Airport's chief operating officer Alison FitzGerald said the plans to upgrade across the airport came after a successful one-year trial, and meant "the journey through the airport in 2023 will be slicker than ever".

Figures earlier this week suggested that London City Airport had the quickest queues through security, with consumer group Which? finding that it took an average of 12 minutes for passengers to be processed. At Birmingham and Manchester airports, some passengers said they had had to wait more than an hour to travel through security.

It follows major shortages of security staff across the UK as airports raced to rehire workers after the pandemic, resulting in lengthy queues during the half term break last spring.

The International Air Transport Association at the time lashed out at delays in workers getting clearances, saying it was taking as long as three months for new employers to get security badges. Before the pandemic, this process had taken between three and four weeks.

The Cabinet Office had pushed back on those claims, though, saying there were "absolutely no delays to security vetting of applicants".