Heathrow To Revolutionise Security Screening With CT Scanners

Heathrow has today announced the rollout of new computerized tomography (CT) security equipment throughout its airport over the next few years. When in deployment, the 3D scanner could end passengers having to remove their liquids and laptops from cabin baggage as they pass through security.

Border Force at Heathrow
The technology will not be available to all terminals and security lanes immediately. It will roll out gradually over the course of the next few years.. Photo: Heathrow Airport

As noted in a press release on Heathrow’s website, the program is moving forward through the support of the Department for Transport. The program aims to install the new equipment across its terminals by 2022. Upon completion, the CT technology aims to reduce the amount of time required for security screening.

A better experience for passengers

Heathrow is set to expand in the coming years with the installation of a third runway. Photo: LHR Airports Limited

In the press release, Chris Garton, Chief Operations Officer of Heathrow said the following:


“Heathrow has a proud history of investing in making every journey better and that’s why we’re delighted to be rolling out our new CT equipment. This cutting-edge kit will not only keep the airport safe with the latest technology, but will mean that our future passengers can keep their focus on getting on with their journeys and less time preparing for security screening.”


The UK’s Aviation Minister, Baroness Vere, echoed the remarks of Garton by saying:

“Passenger safety remains our top priority and this programme clearly shows the huge importance we place on security…This innovative new equipment will ensure Heathrow continues to provide a safe and smooth travel experience for passengers, as we look to roll out this new screening technology at airports across the country.”

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye (right); Aviation Minister Baroness Vere (Centre). Photo: LHR Airports Limited

In addition to faster screening, the new scanners will have a positive impact on the environment. The scanners will significantly reduce the amount of plastic used at the airport, since passengers would no longer be required to put their liquids in clear plastic bags before going through the scanner. Great news for a busy airport like Heathrow.

In fact, Heathrow is the UK’s first airport to trial the technology, working with the Department for Transport to help other airports to test out the same equipment. This latest implementation is worth £50 million and aims to be just one part of the effort to improve passenger experience, while also preparing the hub airport for the additional capacity that will come as a result of Heathrow’s expansion.

Heathrow is Europe’s busiest airport. Photo: LHR Airports Limited

Staying ahead of the pack

Once the largest and busiest airport in the world, London Heathrow has lost its status as the number one airport. It does, however, remain the busiest airport in Europe – serving over 80 million passengers in 2018. Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport was the second busiest, with 72.2 million passengers passing through its doors.

CT scanners that allow faster screening will certainly give Heathrow an edge. It will also provide the ability to handle further expansion and more passengers. This technology is already in use across airports in the United States including New York JFK, Chicago O’Hare, LAX, and Washington-Dulles.

Are you as happy about this news as we are? It seems like it can only benefit passengers and make the air travel experience a little less of a grind. However, I guess we still have to worry about catching bugs at airport security…


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Not happy. CT scanners destroy camera film and Heathrow staff are completely uncooperative in this regard. Every airport in the world will hand check camera film but not Heathrow who insist on blasting it with x-rays, bad enough, but slower films survives. Not so with CT scanning.

Christian Poulton

This is worrying if Heathrow security refuse to undertake hand checks on photographic film. Heathrow management should urgently update their staff to allow for hand checking.