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Jet2.com and Jet2holidays CEO Steve Heapy is calling upon the industry to unite with local MPs to seek an extension for the implementation deadline of new security scanners at UK airports. He warns of potential extensive disruptions and chaos should this deadline not be extended.

Speaking at the 94th Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association in Glasgow, Heapy highlighted the government’s mandate for next-generation scanners to be operational in airports by mid-year. However, he expressed concerns regarding the preparedness of airports to meet this requirement, citing various challenges.

These challenges include the limited availability of scanners from a handful of suppliers, their significant costs amounting to millions, the necessity for infrastructure redevelopment to accommodate their size, and the requirement for floor reinforcement due to their weight.

Heapy stressed the urgency of lobbying to postpone the deadline, emphasizing the potential consequences if airports are not adequately prepared. He urged attendees to engage with politicians, especially in an election year, to hold them accountable for their stance on industry-related issues.

Additionally, Heapy encouraged broader discussions on topics such as revitalizing high streets, addressing CO2 emissions in aviation, promoting sustainable aviation fuel, and modernizing airspace. He emphasized the importance of making informed decisions when voting to safeguard the industry’s future.

Furthermore, Heapy addressed concerns within the industry regarding the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and economic uncertainties. He noted the rising costs across various sectors and their impact on holiday prices, while highlighting the resilience of holiday spending despite economic challenges.

He urged agents to proactively seek new customers and retain existing ones by enhancing marketing efforts, particularly through social media channels. He emphasized the significance of prompt customer service in maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty in a competitive market landscape.

New security scanners at UK Airports

On a related note, several major airports in the UK have admitted they will not fully install new security scanners by the government’s deadline of June 2024. The deadline aims to eliminate the 100ml limit on liquids in hand luggage, set in 2006, requiring the installation of new CT scanners across all security lanes. Despite progress, major airports like London Heathrow, London Gatwick, and Manchester acknowledge they won’t complete the installation by June. Conversely, smaller airports like London City and Teesside have already installed the necessary scanners. Heathrow emphasizes the complexity of installing across 146 lanes, compared to 10 for smaller airports. Gatwick plans substantial progress by the June deadline, with full completion expected by Q1 2025. Manchester Airports Group expects significant deployment by June 2024, with full completion by 2025

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