U.K. to deploy security scanners at 11 more airports

The U.K. will deploy security scanners at 11 more airports, adding to the security scanners currently in operation at 10 U.K. airports, Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said on Thursday.

In a written statement to Parliament, McLoughlin said the U.K. threat level remains substantial and an attack is a strong possibility. The scanners will be deployed to airports in Belfast City, Cardiff, Prestwick, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Liverpool, Bristol, Luton and Stansted.

McLoughlin said work is also underway with the airports which already deploy scanners to consider deploying additional security scanners.

"(Security scanners) were deployed in response to the threat to aviation posed by non-metallic improvised explosive devices, such as the device used in the attack on Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam Schiphol to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, and the device recovered in Yemen in spring 2012," McLoughlin said. "These devices were designed to make detection by existing screening methods extremely difficult."

McLoughlin also announced he would consider allowing further alternatives to a private search to be offered to passengers who who refuse to be scanned. He said if the passengers do not accept the scanner or the alternative method, they will not be allowed to fly on that occasion.

"This approach will allow the small minority of passengers who continue to have concerns about the use of scanners to request an alternative method of screening while maintaining high levels of security at U.K. airports," McLoughlin said.