Express & Star

Government criticised for 100ml liquids U-turn amid chaos at Birmingham Airport

The Airports Operators Association has hit out at the government’s reintroduction of the limit on liquids over 100ml in hand luggage at some UK terminals, including Birmingham Airport


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The trade body for UK airports, said the move has created “uncertainty” for passengers at the busiest time of the year and left airports with little time to prepare for the changes.

The Government required that all airports install new scanners that would allow for liquids of up to two litres in volume to be stored in hand luggage when passengers go through security.

Bigger airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester missed the latest deadline – set for June 1 this year – for installing the technology because of logistical challenges.

However, smaller airports including Birmingham Airport along with London City, Teesside, Newcastle, Leeds-Bradford, Aberdeen and Southend were set to go ahead with some dropping the 100ml liquids rule already - in the case of London City Airport the rule was dropped as early as spring 2023.

Enormous outdoor queues have been snaking around terminals at Birmingham Airport, especially in the early morning, amid the confusion over the latest rules with some people missing flights as the chief executive Nick Barton telling the Express & Star about how important it is that passengers do not carry containers with liquids, pastes or gels that are bigger than 100ml in hand luggage.

He said: "What passengers can do to help us to help them is to make sure there isn’t a single bottle of fluid or liquid or toothpaste, or whatever it might be, in their cabin bag - so the bag they take on the plane - that is more than 100ml.

"It’s a very simple message but one that we make repeatedly.

Passengers shared photos of the queues at Birmingham Airport

What the Department for Transport (DfT) has said about the 100ml liquid rule at UK airports

Last Friday, the Department for Transport (DfT) unexpectedly announced that from June 9 the old rule – only allowing liquids, gels and pastes under 100ml to be taken through security – would be reinstated.

The DfT said: “This temporary move is to enable further improvements to be made to the new checkpoint systems and will only affect a small number of passengers.”

However the Government’s move has caused concern among airport bosses who say they fear staff will not have enough time to respond to the change.

'Changes announced with little notice as airports enter busiest periods'

Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association, said: “These latest changes announced on Friday, instigated with very little notice, have created uncertainty for passengers just as airports enter their busiest periods of the year.

“It has also put airport operators in a challenging position, with very limited time to prepare for the additional staffing and wider resources that this will require, and no clear idea of when this issue will be resolved.”

A DfT spokesperson responded: “The temporary reintroduction of the 100ml liquid restriction at some airports is to allow time to further improve systems.

“It only affects those travelling from six regional airports where next generation security checkpoints (NGSC) were already in full operation – around 6% of all UK air passengers.

“For most passengers, security measures will remain unchanged from those in place since 2006.

“Passengers should continue to check security requirements with their departure airport before travelling.”

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