3D screening technology to be introduced at all UK airports

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans for all major UK airports to introduce ground-breaking new 3D cabin baggage screening equipment, this is following, an announcement from Heathrow Airport saying that it will be investing £50 million in CT technology for screening carry-on baggage at all four of its terminals, a move that will enhance safety and streamline the experience of both passengers and security colleagues.

New baggage-screening devices that use computed tomography (CT) technology can remove this inconvenience, allowing passengers to leave both large electronic devices and liquids in their bags as they pass through security. This helps reduce stress at the start of a journey and contributes to a more enjoyable passenger experience.

Originally used in hospitals, Computed Tomography (CT) is an advanced X-ray technology which also allows for the layered 3D images to be rotated and dissected, enabling more efficient detection of threats and potentially ending the need to take liquids and laptops out of bags. As fewer trays need to be handled, because liquids and laptops can remain in bags, there can be a significant increase in checkpoint throughput.

Smiths Detection has already reported that its technology – namely the Hi-Scan 6040 CTiX cabin-baggage screening system based on the latest CT technology – has been used by the airport in trials in the past year.

The new technology will be rolled out over the next few years, with the Department for Transport requiring all major UK airports to have the technology by 1 December 2022.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We are home to the largest aviation network in Europe, with millions of people passing through our airports every year for work, holidays and family visits. We’re set to streamline those trips with the rollout of this ground-breaking technology – cutting down hassle for travellers and improving security measures. By making journeys through UK airports easier than ever, this new equipment will help boost the vital role our airports play in securing the UK’s position as a global hub for trade, tourism and investment.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The new screening equipment will improve security and make the experience smoother and less stressful for passengers. It could also mean an end to passengers having to use plastic bags or rationing what they take away with them. As an outward looking global nation, our transport hubs are more important than ever, and investing in our security infrastructure means we are investing in our nation’s future.

Heathrow Airport is currently still trialling the new 3D equipment which will be gradually rolled out at other UK airports. The innovative new equipment may have the potential to reduce the amount of time required for security screening and could significantly decrease the amount of plastic used at major UK airports, with passengers no longer required to put their liquids in plastic bags before being screened.

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