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Passengers at Spanish airports will no longer have to empty their carry-on bags at control points – at least from next year. National airport authority Aena has announced that rules relating to liquids and electronic appliances such as laptops will be abolished from 2024, following the installation of new 3D X-ray technology. 

Passengers will reportedly also be allowed to take on-board bottles of wine or olive oil and “family-size” containers of toiletries (colognes, gels, and make-up) in their hand luggage. Currently, liquids, creams and aerosols have to be in containers no larger than 100 milliliters and all placed in a transparent plastic bag (one for each passenger).

The news follows a similar decision by UK authorities announced last December, as well as by an increasing number of other countries around the world.

In Spain, the plan is to introduce the new scanning equipment and rules first at Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona-El Prat airports, then other airports around Spain according to their volume of traffic. No date has been announced yet for Corvera Airport Murcia.

Scanners with similar technology are already in use at airports such as Seoul, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Rome, and the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has tested the new devices at 15 of its airports, including Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego and Chicago.

The measures announced by Aena are part of a general plan to modernise controls at Spanish airports, with the aim of both improving security and streamlining passenger flow. These include the deployment of biometric access systems and a significant investment in EDSCB (Explosive Detection System for Cabin Baggage) technology, despite the fact that it is not compulsory in Spain. 

Aena also plans to implement automated lines for managing hand luggage (ATRS) and a remote inspection system which will enable security guards to carry out their work from a room, without the need to be physically present at the security filter. The ATRS allows suspicious bags to be separated from non-suspect luggage, and for trays to be handled and returned automatically, without passengers having to worry about them. 

According to Aena, security is always a key priority and to that end it is committed to incorporating latest technologies that will ensure its airports, including Corvera, are at the forefront of passenger safety. The authority has also stressed that security standards are the same at all airports in the network, regardless of passenger volume.

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