10, May 2022
For 16 years we have all been used to taking out our electronic devices and limit our liquids to a quart sized bag with 100 ml/3.4 oz containers. There is now an airport in Europe that is utilizing new technology which can eliminate that requirement. At Shannon airport in the west of Ireland, they are using computed tomography (CT) which provides a more detailed image when scanning your items. This new technology is also available at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. The downside is that wherever you fly to doesn’t have this new technology yet, so you will need to follow liquid limitations at the other airport. But use of computed tomography means you no longer need to obey the limitations of liquids.
Why hasn’t this new technology caught on like wildfire across the globe? It is very expensive. It cost approximately $2.6 million to install at the Shannon airport in October 2021. Liquids and electronics could now remain in bags, with no restrictions on liquid volume, and cabin bags could go through scans in new larger trays.
Just as with the CT scans we know from hospitals, the security scanners at airports replace conventional 2D X-ray scanning with much more precise 3D imaging. Shannon Airport estimates that time spent going through its passenger security screening will be halved by the new technology.
Once more countries are able to complete full nationwide rollouts of the technology, we will start to see more airport and regions start to see the ban being lifted or relaxed — but changes to regulations will not come fast or universally.
In the United States, Leidos has been awarded a $470.7 million TSA contract to deploy checkpoint screening technology in the States. The new technology could mean more manpower will be needed. Instead of only using one operator to look at the scans, with this new technology you could have up to four operators looking per machine. Besides less confusion, less planning, less organizing travelers should expect quicker times spent going through security. New York’s JFK airport has been undergoing a trial using this technology as has London’s Heathrow.
It looks to me this gradual rollout of new technology across airports means within the next decade we all could see the end of the changes to airport security that was made in 2006. Here’s hoping the changes come sooner rather than later at an airport near you.