Spanish airports: What are the new liquid and electronics rules coming into force from 2024?

Travellers push their luggages at the Terminal 2 of El Prat airport in Barcelona.
Travellers push their luggages at the Terminal 2 of El Prat airport in Barcelona. Copyright Pau BARRENA / AFP
By Rosie Frost
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The new 3D X-ray scanners can detect what is inside your bag in more detail.

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Passengers at Spanish airports will soon be able to take more than 100ml of liquids in their hand luggage.

From 2024, restrictions on liquids will be removed at some Spanish terminals, airport manager AENA has announced. Passengers will also be able to leave electronics in their luggage after new 3D X-ray technology is installed.

For the first time in over a decade, people will no longer be left fumbling at security while they remove items from their bags or have to decant toiletries into 100ml bottles. The new rules will also mean that you can bring items like bottles of wine or olive oil in your hand luggage.

Where are the new airport security rules being trialled?

The first two airports in Spain where liquids and electronics rules will be dropped are Madrid Barajas and Barcelona El-Prat. There are also plans to remove restrictions at Palma de Mallorca airport from the end of 2024.

Josep LAGO / AFP
Passengers queue at El Prat airport in Barcelona.Josep LAGO / AFP

After this, the new 3D X-ray scanners will be installed at Malaga Costa del Sol in 2025 then Gran Canaria, Tenerife Sur, Fuerteventura, Cesar Manrique Lanzarote, Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernandez, Ibiza, Bilbao, Menorca and Valencia from 2026.

Why are rules on liquids and electronics changing?

Since 2006, liquids have been banned in hand luggage after a failed terrorist plot on flights from London. The terrorists planned improvised explosive devices hidden in soft drink bottles.

The 100ml limit now covers liquids and most types of pastes, gels and emulsions.

Electronics can also block other items or disguise explosives or weapons.

But new 3D scanners and enhanced X-ray technology will be able to see what is in your bag in greater detail. They can also identify explosives without you having to remove liquids or electronics from your bag.

They’ve already been tested across the US and will soon be installed in airports across Europe. The UK government has also announced that it would be using the new scanners from June 2024 and Ireland is trialling them at airports in Dublin and Cork.

It is hoped that the new rules will speed up growing queues and delays at security that were part of the reason for last summer’s airport chaos.

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