Long queues at airport security as passengers put liquid containers in plastic bags and remove laptops from carry-ons could soon be over after the government ordered airports to introduce new 3D scanners by 2022.

Announcing the plans, Boris Johnson said the scanners would cut down on “hassle” for travellers.

“By making journeys through UK airports easier than ever, this new equipment will help boost the vital role our airports play in securing the UK’s position as a global hub for trade, tourism and investment,” the prime minister said on Saturday.

Heathrow said some of the new-style scanners were already in operation at some of its terminals, but until the technology is fully installed across the airport, passengers must continue to follow the restrictions put in place in 2006.

The airport said it was spending £50m on computed tomography (CT) 3D scanners which give security officers much clearer images of items inside baggage and allow them to view the contents of a bag from multiple angles.

However Heathrow is not the first global hub to move to simpler security scanning. Schipol airport in Amsterdam has already installed the scanners, and in the United States they are in use at Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta and Chicago O’Hare.

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