New scanners will be trialled at Heathrow Airport which could mean the end of the strict rules on carrying liquid bottles on planes.

Computed tomography (CT) technology could allow X-ray scanners to produce a 3D image of the contents of passengers' luggage and detect any explosives, the Daily Mail reports.

The ban on liquid bottles which requires passengers to put small quantities of toiletries in a plastic bag came into force after a terror plot was foiled in 2006.

The new technology has already been tested at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport and John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, The Sunday Times reported.

Advertisement

The Department of Transport said the technology with "automatic explosive detection capability" was being trialled.

The initial tests will take place in a few lanes at an unspecified terminal in Heathrow but the system could be rolled out more widely if they work well.

"If successful, this could lead in future to passengers no longer needing to remove items from hand luggage for screening," the department said.

Philip Baum of Aviation Security International magazine said: "It is the beginning of the end of the liquid ban and it's long overdue."

The current rules came into force after the 2006 plot to blow up a transatlantic plane with liquid bombs.

Passengers were at first banned from taking any liquids on board and subsequently have had to carry them in small containers and seal them in plastic bags.

The scanners will be trialled at London's Heathrow Airport. Photo / Getty Images
The scanners will be trialled at London's Heathrow Airport. Photo / Getty Images

Three men were jailed for life in 2009 after they planned what a judge said was an atrocity comparable to the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

British-born ringleader Abdulla Ahmed Ali was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years behind bars while accomplices Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain were also given life sentences.

Advertisement

The al Qaida-inspired terror cell planned to detonate home-made liquid bombs on flights bound for major North American cities.

Mr Justice Henriques said the trio were convicted of "the most grave and wicked conspiracy ever proven within this jurisdiction".

In 2003 British man Richard Reid was jailed for trying to blow up an aeroplane by detonating explosives in his shoes.

Failed Al Qaeda terrorist Reid is serving life without parole for trying to kill 197 people on board a transatlantic jet on December 22, 2001.

He told the court, during his hearing at the time, that he was an enemy of the US. and "a soldier of Allah".