Airports in the United Kingdom may axe security restrictions on liquids and laptops within the next two years thanks to the introduction of 3D scanners, the BBC reports.
Government officials apparently are looking at rolling out the advanced scanners by mid-2024, a source told the BBC – although no final decision has been made.
The high-tech equipment is described as being similar to the CT scanners that are used in hospitals and are said to paint a clearer picture of a bag's contents.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic reportedly delayed the deadline for installing the new scanners.
Since November 2006, passengers in the U.K. carrying liquid in their cabin baggage have been restricted to packing containers holding no more than 100ml.
They must be shown to security staff in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures about 20cm by 20cm.
The allowance ended a previous ban on liquids in the cabin imposed three months earlier when British police said they intercepted a plot to blow up as many as 10 planes using explosives hidden in drinks bottles.
According to The Times, an official announcement on lifting the restrictions may come before Christmas as officials hope it will reduce line-ups in U.K. airports.
The new scanners, which allow staff to zoom in on a bag's contents and rotate the images for closer inspection, have already been trialed at London’s Heathrow Airport
The technology is also already used in the United States, appearing at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson and Chicago's O'Hare airports.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to use the new technology to speed up efficiencies at U.K. airports, giving airports a deadline of the end of 2022.
But air passenger numbers plummeted during the pandemic as travel restrictions slowed traffic across the globe.