Security at airports: New scanners instead of liquid controls

Status: 11/24/2022 5:51 p.m

Air travel will soon become easier for many passengers. The often criticized liquid controls are to be eliminated at two German and British airports. This is made possible by a technique that has been known for some time.

Long queues at airport security checkpoints are nerve-wracking for travelers – and cost operators a lot of money. In order to speed up security checks, British and two German airports will be using computer tomography scanners (CT scanners) in the future. This means that there are no restrictions on liquids in luggage.

While it will take until mid-2024 in Great Britain, Munich Airport “Franz Josef Strauss” intends to use the scanners as standard from next year. The largest German airport in Frankfurt am Main will also initially use seven scanners from 2023.

Up to 160 percent more handling

Munich Airport had already successfully tested the new technology at Terminal 2 in recent years, according to the Air Authority South of the government of Upper Bavaria. Now new control lanes and 60 CT scanners are to be purchased for around 45 million euros. According to the announcement, up to 160 percent more passengers can be screened in the same time than in the previous facilities.

Computer tomography technology, already known from medicine, makes it possible. The devices x-ray the hand luggage and, in contrast to the previous technology, not only provide a few overhead images, but now also hundreds of images of the item of luggage without any loss of speed. This creates three-dimensional views on the control screen, which enable the contents of the bag to be x-rayed in layers. A check for explosives and explosive liquids is also possible.

Fluid controls cause delays

Great Britain wants to gradually put the scanners into operation. “We’ve just started expanding the security area in Terminal 3, which will have more CT scanners,” John Holland-Kaye, chief of Britain’s largest airport, London Heathrow, told the Times newspaper.

According to the report, travelers not removing items from their carry-on bags or traveling with more liquids than allowed are the biggest causes of airport security delays.

So far, the following applies: containers with a maximum of 100 milliliters

Since November 2006, air travelers have only been allowed to take liquids in their hand luggage in containers with a maximum size of 100 milliliters. Up to now, they have had to be packed in a transparent bag with a maximum capacity of one liter and be shown separately during the inspection. Laptops and tablets must also be removed from backpacks and bags.

The measure was enacted after a plan to carry out terrorist attacks on planes using explosives hidden in drinks bottles was foiled.

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