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London's Heathrow Airport is eliminating one of the worst parts of airport security

Business Insider logo Business Insider 6/6/2019 Sinéad Baker
a man standing in front of a store © Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

    London's Heathrow Airport announced plans to eliminate a hated part of airport security, by introducing new scanners that can see liquids and laptops inside your bag.

    Heathrow, one of the world's busiest airports, is investing more than £50 million ($63 million) in new equipment that can better see inside closed bags.

    "Passengers could soon keep their liquids and laptops inside their cabin baggage when passing through security at Heathrow," the airport said in a statement

    Heathrow said the more efficient system would reduce the time that passengers spend in security, and would also cut plastic use by eliminating the small bags passengers currently have to stuff their cosmetics into.

    a group of people standing around a table © Joe Penney/Reuters

    The airport has been trialing the technology since 2017. The airport says it expects the scanners to be rolled out across its 5 terminals by 2022.

    The scanners use the same technology as CT scanners in hospitals, which can see through the body to analyse internal organs and bones.

    Global restrictions on flying with liquids greater than 100ml (3.4oz) were put in place in 2006 after the UK government uncovered what it described as a plot to blow up several transatlantic flights with liquid explosives.

    Three people were convicted in connection to the plot.

    Then-TSA administrator John Pistole said in 2010 that liquid restrictions were introduced because "the challenge with liquids and the vulnerability that terrorists tried to exploit in August 2006 is that liquid explosives don't look any different than regular liquids on the X-ray monitor."

    a group of people sitting at a train station © pio3/Shutterstock

    He said: "The sealed baggie limits the total volume of liquid per passenger and keeps all the liquids in one place so officers can get a good look at them." 

    The scanning technology is already in place in a number of airports across the US, according to the TSA. However, authorities still require the liquids to be removed at kept together.

    The technology is in place in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, and Washington-Dulles International Airport, among others.

    The TSA says that the "machines create such a clear picture of a bag's contents that computers can automatically detect explosives, including liquids."

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