Hand luggage liquid limit criticised after Newcastle Airport restriction imposed

The new security search area at Newcastle Airport, where the 100ml rule has been "temporarily reintroduced"
-Credit: (Image: Newcastle Airport)

Airports have criticised the Government's reintroduction of a limit on liquids over 100ml carried in hand luggage.

Newcastle Airport is one of six where the limit has been reintroduced, along with London City, Aberdeen, Leeds/Bradford, Southend and Teesside. The Government required that all airports install new scanners allowing for liquids up to two litres in volume to be store in hand luggage when passengers go through security.

Larger airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester missed the latest deadline, set for June 1, for installing the technology because of logistical challenges. However, Newcastle Airport completed a £20m transformation ahead of the deadline, including the equipment that should in theory allow travellers to leave liquids and electronics in their hand luggage.

Nevertheless, the Department for Transport (DfT) unexpectedly announced on Friday, June 7, that the old rule - only allowing liquids, gels and pastes under 100ml to be taken through security - would be reinstated. The DfT has not said when the measure will be reversed.

Trade body The Airport Operators Association 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.

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 Department for Transport 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."

Newcastle International Airport refused to comment further on the re-introduction of the rule after issuing the following statement on Friday, which read: "The Government has implemented a restriction on liquids carried by passengers in their hand luggage, effective from midnight on Saturday 8th June.

"Passengers are advised to pack all non-essential liquids in their hold baggage. Any liquids, gels or creams being carried in hand luggage must be in containers of up to 100ml and placed in a bag. We are working with our airline partners to keep disruption to a minimum."