The ban on carrying liquids on planes could be lifted within a year in Europe as new scanners that can detect liquids, approved by the Department of Transport, could be installed in airports by April next year.
The passengers however will still have to remove bottles from their luggage for inspection but they will not be banned from carrying fluid more than 100ml.
European countries had imposed a complete ban on carrying liquids through airport security in August 2006 after a terrorist plot to blow up transatlantic aircraft, by using the liquid explosives, which was later foiled.
It is believed that two of the scanners set to be installed include Cobalt Light Systems’ Insight 100 scanners and Smiths Detections’ aTix scanners.
The Insight 100 is capable of scanning liquids, powders or gels, within sealed containers, including bottles for explosives in less than 10 seconds delivering low false alarm rates of less than 0.5%.
The system deploys SORS technology to obtain a fingerprint spectrum, which offers accurate and definite identification from threats and can upgraded to include new threats.
It can be used as an alarm resolver together with the current X-ray scanning systems or as a stand-alone Type B screener.
Smiths detection’ aTix scanner features X-ray sensor technology to scan a bottle and its contents, while its enhanced algorithms will provide high detection rate and low false alarm rates
It can detect a potentially dangerous liquid within seconds from its chemical composition.
The Department of Transport successfully tested the new equipment for 18 months at Heathrow before removing it.
Image: UK Department of Transport has installed 80 scanners at Heathrow Airport, which would commence working following the removal of the ban on carrying liquids onto aircraft. Photo: Warren Rohner