Birmingham Airport announce big rule change by summer as security upgrade confirmed

monorail at BHX
Birmingham Airport passengers face imminent changes to how they queue, transit to airside and carry liquids. Pictured: The 'Air-Rail Link' monorail system at Birmingham Airport -Credit:BirminghamLive

Birmingham Airport passengers face imminent changes to how they queue, transit to airside and carry liquids as work on its new security hall nears completion. BHX's "state-of-the-art" security hall upgrade, a project costing £60 million after 'inflationary costs' drove up the re-build by millions of pounds, will see the terminal transformed by June.

The security hall upgrade is essential to get the airport in line with regulations by June 2024, which will end the need to remove liquids and laptops during pre-flight security checks. The new security checkpoint will feature a specific type of x-ray scanner, which will allow passengers to leave their liquids and electronics in their hand luggage.

Recently, some Birmingham Airport passengers have reported facing large bottlenecks and long wait times to get through security as builders press on with the terminal rebuild. Last week the Department for Transport said some of the bigger airports undergoing the upgrade, including London Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester, are not expected to have the technology in place in time for the June 2024 deadline.

READ MORE: 'I worked extra shifts for our dream holiday but Birmingham Airport confusion meant we missed it'

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As parts of Birmingham Airport continue to resemble a building site, we asked BHX bosses if they are on track to complete the security hall upgrade by the original deadline of June 1.

The airport confirmed that its new security system is already being rolled out and that they are due to meet their deadline. The airport said that high-tech security screening technology will be in place and that holidaymakers can expect it to go live on time.

They added that until the new system goes live, passengers will need to continue adhering to the 100ml hand luggage restriction.

When will 100ml rule be scrapped?

Birmingham will scrap the 100ml liquid rule from June 1, which will be just in time for the school holidays.

Nick Barton, CEO, commenting on the next generation security project said: “Birmingham Airport has invested £60m in a new security hall and scanning equipment. From the 1st June our customers will start to see the benefits of the new security systems as we roll them out which will result in a speedier, simpler pre-flight security screening process for our customers.

“In the meantime, up until the 1st June date, our existing security restrictions remain in place. It is timely to remind all customers that they still need to remove electricals during the search process and only carry liquids, pastes and gels, up to 100ml, in 20 x 20cm in resealable bags in their hand luggage.”

“We can confirm that yes we will meet the deadline, and we have already started to introduce the new machines to the customers and, after April 4 we will have three machines available, which we are rolling out and testing as we speak.”

Can I take more than 100ml through security before June?

No, until June 1, holidaymakers will need to comply with old security rules. A reminder of this is removing coats and belts and having all liquids out of your hand luggage. Electronic devices also need to be out of their protective covers and in a separate tray.

All liquids, pastes and gels need to be under 100ml and in a resealable 20 x 20cm clear plastic bag. Birmingham Airport only allows you through security with one clear bag. One the new rules come into force in June, the new scanners will allow passengers to take up to two litres through security. We have asked airport bosses for some more detail on how this will work.

The rules requiring liquids to be taken through security in 100ml or under and in a clear plastic bag were introduced in 2006 after a plot to bomb a transatlantic flight was scuppered. CT X-ray technology in the new scanners will provide 3D images so items can be left inside bags and liquids up to two litres will be allowed through.

What will the new security hall look like?

When we visited the site last year, we were told workers are on-site 21 hours a day to get the project - which includes air rail link, security lane, departure gates and lift area improvements - completed on time. BHX bosses told us they are using the "next generation" project to sharpen up other parts of their building. From ripping out BHX's "1980s chic" polycarbonate roof to closing down a number of retail and dining outlets to make way for new names- holidaymakers can expect some major changes.

CGIs show what travellers can expect once the rebuild has been completed.

CGIs showing Birmingham Airport's new security hall ahead of upgrade. Pictured: security lanes -Credit:BHX
CGIs showing Birmingham Airport's new security hall ahead of upgrade. Pictured: security lanes -Credit:BHX

Will queues go down at Birmingham Airport?

The hope is that scrapping restrictions will speed up security queues, which get congested at peak times. There has been some disruption to passengers as the rebuild takes place in and around the terminal. Airport CEO Nick Barton previously likened the work to a "football stadium having its stands rebuilt and its pitch re-laid while continuing to stage matches."

News of brand new scanners and faster moving queues will be welcomed by holidaymakers ahead of the peak summer rush, which can see a whopping 45,000 passengers go through the gates in one day.

Stephen Barker, development and construction director at Birmingham Airport previously said that new security lanes will make transiting through BHX much more efficient. Barker said: "Once built and operational in June 2024, our new pre-flight screening area will further enhance our already high standards of security as well as improve the efficiency of our operation.

"This improved efficiency will enable us to process customers quickly, especially at peak travel times. Customers will no longer be required to remove liquids and laptops from hand luggage."

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