Controls much faster: First airports want to remove liquids regulation

Whether water, toothpaste or sunscreen: More than 100 milliliters of liquid per container are not allowed in hand luggage.

Controls much faster: First airports want to remove liquids regulation

Whether water, toothpaste or sunscreen: More than 100 milliliters of liquid per container are not allowed in hand luggage. This limit should soon be removed, at least at two German airports. And that's not the only good news: Thanks to new technology, you can get through the security check much faster.

At the two largest German airports, passengers can hope for more convenient and faster checks of their hand luggage from next year. While Munich has already announced an expansion program with a volume of 45 million euros for 60 new baggage scanners, among other things, the Frankfurt operator Fraport also wants to set up seven devices from the beginning of the year.

The scanners are intended to make life easier for guests, because in future they will no longer have to unpack liquids and electronic devices. The previously applicable upper limit of 100 milliliters per liquid container will then no longer apply, as the southern air authority announced to the government of Upper Bavaria. Inexperienced passengers in particular have lost time at the checkpoints if they did not pre-sort the liquids in their hand luggage.

The devices screen the hand luggage using the computer tomography (CT) technique known from medicine. Instead of just a few overhead images, they deliver hundreds of images of the piece of luggage without any loss of speed, which enables three-dimensional views on the control screen and the layer-by-layer x-raying of the bag's contents. The devices can also detect solid and liquid explosives. The restrictions on liquids in aviation were introduced in 2006 to counteract terrorism. Great Britain is also aiming for rapid expansion. Several UK media outlets reported on a program due to be completed by mid-2024.

There are currently two test devices each at the German airports in Munich, Frankfurt and Cologne. For a long time, the federal police could not bring themselves to approve the new technology, which has already been tested in the USA, but also in EU countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands and Estonia. At the end of 2019, the federal police had declared that the devices "according to the current state of knowledge" had no operational added value. During the corona pandemic, the pressure for more efficient controls had fallen due to the low number of passengers, so that the British program was delayed.

In addition to the scanners, 48 ​​newly designed control lanes are also to be installed in the two Munich terminals. They should enable the process to be completed more quickly because up to four people can hang up their luggage at the same time. According to the announcement, up to 160 percent more passengers can be screened in the same time in the new lanes than in the previous facilities. Similar tracks are already running in Frankfurt and are to be further expanded under Fraport's direction.

The German aviation industry has long been demanding faster passenger checks without compromising security. According to the airport association ADV, today's procedures tie up too many resources and represent a "serious burden for both travelers and the economy". "We very much welcome the new technology," said a spokeswoman for Germany's largest airline Lufthansa.

The Federal Association of the German Aviation Industry is also in favor of rapid expansion, but also points out possible problems for transit passengers. If Great Britain increases the amount of liquids allowed in hand luggage, only CT scanners can be used to ensure that they do not contain explosives. Passengers traveling from the UK to the Schengen area in order to board a connecting flight would have to undergo a post-check at the transit airport.

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