Spain has confirmed it will become one of the next countries to lift restrictions on liquids and electronics in airline passenger hand luggage beginning in 2024.
National airport operator Aena has confirmed that it will roll out the latest generation of baggage scanners at some of Spain’s biggest airports, including Madrid Barajas and Barcelona El Prat, in time for next year’s summer getaway.
The machines are officially known as Computed Tomography (CT) scanners and are sometimes called 3D scanners because they create a sophisticated 3D image of the contents of your bag.
The 3D image is then analysed by a sophisticated algorithm which can automatically detect weapons, explosives and other prohibited items, including liquid explosives.
Several airports, including in Amsterdam, have already introduced CT scanners and they’ve proven to be so good that security officials have been able to significantly ease hand luggage rules or lift restrictions altogether.
Some countries that are already using CT scanners still impose limits on the quantity of liquids that passengers can take with them in their hand luggage, but the British government plans to almost completely eliminate liquid restrictions once the equipment is rolled out across the UK’s major airports.
Under new legislation being introduced to parliament, passengers will be allowed to take up to 2 litres of liquids in their hand luggage. The UK has set a 2024 deadline for major airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham.
The rules that surround passengers taking liquids in their hand luggage were hurriedly introduced in 2006 after the infamous transatlantic liquid bomb plot, which was foiled by British and American intelligence services at the eleventh hour.
The plot identified a massive vulnerability in the airport security regime by smuggling liquid explosives onto commercial jets by masquerading them as bottles of popular soft drinks.
CT scanners are also already in use in the United States, but the Transporation Security Administration (TSA) says it could take years for liquid hand luggage rules to be eased in the US. The simple reason is that the TSA is going to wait until CT scanners are rolled out at most major airports before changing federal requirements.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.