UK airports get more time to put in new scanners that will allow more liquids and packed laptops

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. paltry / ˈpɔl tri / (adj.) – too small in amount that it can’t be considered useful

    Athletes are complaining about the paltry allowance provided by the government.

  2. foil / fɔɪl / (v.) – to prevent something from succeeding

    The police foiled the thief’s plan to steal from the store.

  3. case-by-case / keɪs baɪ keɪs / (adj.) – considering each situation or instance individually, without applying a general rule

    The company has a flexible work policy that allows employees to request remote work arrangements on a case-by-case basis.

  4. breakdown / ˈbreɪkˌdaʊn / (n.) – a detailed list or summary of information, often presented in a systematic format

    The breakdown of expenses showed how much was spent on groceries, utilities, and entertainment.

  5. short-haul / ˈʃɔrt ˈhɔl / (adj.) – traveling a short distance

    The airline offers comfortable seating even for short-haul flights to ensure a pleasant journey.


Read the text below.

Drink it or bin it: That phrase should have become history this summer at all U.K. airports. But it’s set to persist for at least another year after the British government said it will grant extensions to several large U.K. airports unable to meet the June 1 deadline to fully install new scanning technology. The airports include London’s two biggest, Heathrow and Gatwick.

The new scanners use computed tomography, commonly known as a CT scan, to produce clearer images. They are being rolled out globally, including in the U.S. and across Europe, and will allow passengers to go through security with 2 liters (70 ounces) of liquid in their hand luggage—rather than the current paltry 100 milliliters (3.5 ounces).

They will also mean laptops and tablets won’t need to be removed from bags—saving even more time.

The restrictions were introduced around the world in 2006 following a foiled terror plot to blow up planes flying from London to the U.S. with homemade liquid bombs. They were not expected to be in place for 18 years and have been cited as one of, if not, the biggest cause of delays at airport security checks.

A deadline for the new technology to be in place at U.K. airports had originally been set for December 2022 but that was delayed to this summer as a result of the huge disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The new deadline comes after airports reported that they were struggling to install the scanners ahead of the busy summer holiday period, largely due to supply chain delays and construction difficulties caused by the weight of the machines.

The Department for Transport said the extensions would be granted on a case-by-case basis and that it was exploring how financial penalties could be imposed for further non-compliance.

It did not provide a breakdown of the situation for each airport, citing security concerns, but said that by the start of June about half of passengers flying from U.K. airports will be processed by the new scanners. London City Airport, a popular short-haul airport, has already successfully introduced the new scanners, as has Teesside Airport in the northeast of England.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Among the improvements made in London airports, including the introduction of new scanning technology, clearer imaging, increased liquid allowance, and the option to keep laptops and tablets in bags during security checks, which change do you think will have the biggest impact on enhancing the travel experience for passengers? Why? Discuss.
  • What changes have occurred in the airports in your country? Do you believe these changes have enhanced the overall travel experience for passengers? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • How do you think news of a terrorism threat would impact your decision to travel (ex. it will make me reconsider my travel plans, it depends on the credibility of the threat)? Discuss.
  • Do you think your government has been successful in ensuring the safety and security of travelers? Why or why not? Discuss.