Airport security rules: When will major UK airports relax liquid restrictions?

A security bag holding a clear bag at an airport terminal.
Currently, passengers are only allowed to check-in 100ml containers of liquids. Credit: PA

By James Gray, Multimedia Producer

London City Airport has announced it is to become the UK's first to bring into service state-of-the-art CT security scanners, removing certain passenger restrictions for hand luggage.

Travellers will be able to experience the technology, which will cut "hassle" and "queuing times" by the Easter holidays, according to the airport's chief executive, Robert Sinclair.

The addition of the new scanners will do away with existing limits on liquids for carry-on travel bags and are part of a UK-wide government deadline, slated for next year, to replace older machines.

ITV News explains what the new changes will mean and when other airports plan to complete the changeover.

When is the deadline?

The government has set all major UK airports a deadline of June 2024 to ensure that all older security scanners have been replaced with new generation CT machines.

What will the changes mean for passengers?

Once the CT machines - which are similar to those used in hospitals - are in place, passengers will be able to carry a maximum of two litres of liquids with them in their hand luggage.

There will no longer be a need to carry the liquids and other items, such as tablets, in clear plastic bags.

Those carrying laptops will also be able to move through airport security checks without the need to remove them from their bags.

What are the existing rules?

Currently, travellers are only allowed to pack liquids which measure up to 100ml in any given container as part of their hand luggage.

The rule was introduced across the UK in 2006 after authorities foiled an attempted terrorist plot to bring down seven departing flights from London Gatwick airport. Those involved in the scheme had planned to use liquid explosives which were disguised as soft drinks.

The new rules mean that passengers will no longer have to place items containing liquids in clear bags.

How will the new technology work?

New generation CT scanners are able to produce high quality 3D scans of bags belonging to passengers from every angle.

At present, airports use older machines which can only give lower resolution 2D images.

What has the government said?

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 UK will have the latest security tech installed, reducing queuing times, improving the passenger experience, and most importantly detecting potential threats."

The government is asking that passengers, up to the June 2024 deadline, check in advance what security measures are in place at any given airport, so to avoid confusion. Travellers are also reminded that rules for carrying liquids can vary between their departure and arrival airports.

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When will other major airports rollout the equipment?

Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton

  • A spokesman for AGS Airports, which owns and operates Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, said: "Our airports will meet the new requirements set by the UK government ahead of the required deadline to ensure our passengers continue to receive the highest standards in security."

Belfast City

  • In a statement, Belfast City airport said it will "comply with all security requirements within the relevant timeframes".

Belfast International

  • Discussions are ongoing to ensure the technology is installed by June 2024.


  • A spokesperson said Birmingham airport is in the process of building its "new security screening area" and is "on course" to complete the upgrade in line with the government's deadline.


  • Discussions are ongoing to ensure the technology is fully operational by June 2024.


  • Discussions are ongoing to ensure the technology is fully operational by June 2024.

East Midlands

  • Discussions are ongoing to ensure the technology is fully operational by June 2024.


  • A spokesman said Edinburgh airport is "currently modelling work for the installation of the scanners into a renovated security hall".


  • Works to install the CT machines are set to begin this spring and will be fully operational by June 2024 once staff have been fully trained to operate it.

Leeds Bradford

  • Discussions are ongoing to ensure the technology is fully operational by June 2024.


  • Due to commence it's rollout of the new CT machines later in 2023, with the aim of being fully operational by the government's deadline.

London Gatwick

  • Discussions are ongoing to ensure the technology is fully operational by June 2024.

London Heathrow

  • Discussions are ongoing to ensure the technology is fully operational by June 2024.

London Luton

  • A spokesperson said: "London Luton Airport will have all new-generation equipment available in line with the DfT direction date for UK airports."

London Stansted

  • It is currently undertaking passenger trials of the new CT machines and will have the technology in place by the government's deadline.


  • Manchester airport is finalising its programme for completing the upgrades and is working on introducing the new technology as soon as possible.


  • A spokesperson said: "Newcastle International Airport is making the investments required to meet the new security regulations. These will be completed in 2024, and until then there will be no change to the liquids requirements when travelling through Newcastle."

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