Liquid restrictions 'to remain in force' despite new scanner technology

7 May 2014

Heathrow and Gatwick have played down suggestions that new technology currently being tested will mean rules on liquids in hand luggage can be relaxed soon.

Both airports are taking part in trials of new scanning machines that can detect potentially harmful liquids using laser technology. The Insight100 machines, around the size of a microwave, take five seconds to fire a beam and measure the response. The way the light is refracted signifies the contents of the bottle and whether it is harmless or not.

A Heathrow spokeswoman said: “The new liquid screening technology is certainly a positive development and will reduce confiscations of liquids, but it needs to get faster and easier to use before we can dispense with the wider restrictions. The 100ml restriction and clear bags will be with us for the time being.”

She declined to disclose how long the trial period will last or if the machines would be introduced permanently.

The new scanners are also being trialled at Gatwick now. A spokeswoman said the majority of passengers would “not notice a huge difference at the moment”.

She added: “The main positive changes will be that parents won’t have to taste baby milk anymore when they go through security as the new technology takes away the requirement to do this.”

Gary Noakes

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