First major UK airport scraps 100-milliliter liquid rule


London City Airport (LCY) has axed the 100-milliliter liquid limit for hand luggage thanks to the rollout of high-tech new computed tomography scanners — beating the 2024 deadline set by the United Kingdom government.

The move makes LCY the first London airport to fully adopt the new technology and remove the security clearance rule. Nationwide, LCY is the second U.K. airport to drop the rule, after Teesside International Airport (MME) dropped the liquid rule in March.

The security upgrades come in reaction to a challenge set by the U.K. government for its nation’s airports to have the scanners fully operational in their hubs by 2024 to speed up the flow of passengers. The previous U.K. prime minister, Boris Johnson, had promised to scrap the rule by December 2022, but his successor, Rishi Sunak, later extended the deadline to June 2024.

Related: The surprising item I had that set off the TSA alarm

A new 3D computed tomography scanner in Miami. JOE READLE/GETTY IMAGES

Speaking about the plans last year, U.K. Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “The tiny toiletry has become a staple of airport security checkpoints, but that’s all set to change. I’m streamlining cabin bag rules at airports while enhancing security. By 2024, major airports across the U.K. will have the latest security tech installed, reducing queuing times, improving the passenger experience, and most importantly detecting potential threats.

“Of course, this won’t happen straight away – this is going to take 2 years to be fully implemented. Until then, passengers must continue following the existing rules and check before travelling.”

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The 100-milliliter rule was introduced in the U.K. following a thwarted terror plot in 2006 involving explosives hidden inside drinks bottles. Almost two decades later, scanner technology has vastly improved, making enforcement of the liquid cap redundant where the scanners are fully operational.

Travelers at LCY will be able to carry up to 2 liters (more than half a gallon) of liquid in their hand luggage and pass through security without removing electrical items such as laptops.

Aircraft take off in London, with the buildings of Canary Wharf in the distance. JOHN LAMB/GETTY IMAGES

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U.K. airports aren’t the first to take advantage of the CT scanners. Several international peers — including Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) and Miami International Airport (MIA) — are already streamlining their security checkpoints with the technology. In fact, the CT scanners have been operational at LCY for some time, but only now is the 100-milliliter rule being dropped.

City bosses initially aimed for the hardware to be installed across the airport security areas by the end of March — ahead of the U.K.’s busy Easter holidays, when bosses will be hoping to reduce wait times and avoid a repeat of last year’s mass delays and overcrowding.

LCY offers key short-haul services from the U.K. to wider Europe and is the fifth-busiest London hub. Its routes are serviced by British Airways, ITA Airways, KLM and Lufthansa, among others.

Additional reporting by Joe Ellison.


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