Major security changes coming to Melbourne, Brisbane Airports

Life’s getting a little easier for travellers as more advanced scanners come online around the country.

By David Flynn, April 19 2024
Major security changes coming to Melbourne, Brisbane Airports

Qantas domestic passengers flying from Melbourne will soon be able to keep laptops, liquids and aerosols in their carry-on as Melbourne Airport embarks on a major security upgrade it says will make travel “smoother, enhanced experience for travellers” at T1.

Stage one kicks off this week with the construction of a temporary checkpoint fitted with new ‘computed tomography’ (CT) security scanners at the eastern end of the Qantas domestic terminal.

If all goes to plan, its six lanes should be open from August 2024.

The temporary security zone will feature advanced screening equipment.
The temporary security zone will feature advanced screening equipment.

When that happens, you can wave goodbye to removing laptops and aerosols from bags, with the time-saving scanners – already seen in Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and the Gold Coast, and indeed Melbourne Terminals 2 to 4 – generating 3D images that can be viewed and rotated on three axes.

From there, work switches to a refurbishment of the existing security area, which is pencilled in for completion in December 2025 and will also see the installation of full body scanners. 

An artist's impression of the upgraded Qantas screening zone.
An artist's impression of the upgraded Qantas screening zone.

Melbourne isn’t the only hub overhauling its facilities though, with Brisbane and Sydney also rolling out upgraded scanners by the end of 2025, in line with the Federal Government’s mandated airport security requirements.

Sydney Airport already has 3D scanners in its own T3 Qantas domestic terminal, and they’ve also been added to many but not all lanes at the T1 international.

The rest of T1 is expected to follow, along with the domestic T2 terminal used by Virgin Australia, Rex, Jetstar and other domestic airlines.

Brisbane is on track to upgrade all scanners at its domestic and international terminals “by 2025” to meet the Government’s Strengthening Aviation Security Initiative deadline, which aligns security screening with global standards by 2025.

A render of Brisbane Airport's new mezzanine security checkpoint, scheduled for completion in 2025.
A render of Brisbane Airport's new mezzanine security checkpoint, scheduled for completion in 2025.

However, the Australian Government says it has no plans to scrap or increase the current limit of 100ml/100mg limit on liquids, alcohols and gels on international flights.

Liquids limit raised to 2 litres

It’s a different scene in the UK, where airports are racing to meet a Government deadline requiring outdated security scanners be replaced with modern 3D versions by June 2024.

London City Airport was the first major hub in the UK to complete the upgrade, in April last year, with passengers now permitted to bring up to two litres of drinks, perfumes, beauty products and the like in their cabin bags.

Heathrow now has the scanners in Terminals 2, 3 and 5, with more in line for Terminal 4. However, the hub has its work cut out for it with 146 security lanes to be replaced.

By June, passengers will be able to carry containers with up to 2 litres of fluid, doing away with the 100ml mini-bottle and the ritual of discarding larger volumes of liquid, however valuable.

The UK isn’t the first country to introduce the new technology: hubs including Amsterdam Schiphol and Helsinki, as well as several in the US, already have CT baggage scanners.

Additional reporting by Chris Ashton. 

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 160

The 100ml rule is so frustrating especially on the return to Australia and because almost every other country has done away with that requirement 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 May 2018

Total posts 66

A positive announcement at long last. I along with a lot of others have had a hip replacement. The older style scanners were an irritation. Also a plus regarding lap tops etc.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 110

Hopefully, in due course I will be able to carry my tax free bottle of Pernod through CDG?

Qatar Privilage Club

31 Mar 2023

Total posts 6

Gold Coast has also had the updated scanners for some time.

Of course Australia is not ready to do away with the restrictions on liquids. That would mean investing in the passenger experience. Well done on the UK for doing so.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 97

This is NOT better - Sydney T1 changes for QF domestic a farce. You no longer need to remove laptops and liquids but instead you now MUST remove your belt and pull apart yourself, which you didn't need to do before!! Arguably its a lot easier pulling out he laptop and deo can while standing at the 'bench' than it is trying to hold everything and feed your belt back on... I cannot believe they made one thing better while making another worse... On my regular trips to Sydney from Melbourne on QF, my experience in MEL is better than SYD on the way back... I have complained to multiple QF lounge staff about this and though it's not their problem, they agreed with me how stupid it is! I also wonder if it's just the security staff at SYD rather than the machines, because MEL international is fantastic and they don't ask you to remove belts...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 107

It’s just Sydney 

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1025

Body scanners don't belong in airports.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 462

Where would you suggest they be used?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Dec 2014

Total posts 60

I’m intrigued why you think so? I’m not sure how else we’d have comfort that you aren’t hiding something on your body. 

29 Jan 2012

Total posts 177

I remember about 10 yrs ago flying from LAX to Vegas and even back then the terminal had scanners not requiring liquids and laptops to be removed. The security staff were reiterating constantly to leave these items in the bags for screening, which did cause us slight confusion at the time.

Why has it taken so long to come here I ask.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Sep 2016

Total posts 14

This new system was introduced in Perth and it made security less efficient. Not only do I now need to remove my belt but every tim my bag now has to go through a secondary check - the old system was much faster. Furthermore for international flights departing the Qantas terminal, another security screen is required and it's like the old style checks - laptops out but belts can stay on!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 712

These scanners almost always give a false alert to an object hidden between the knee and ankle of my left leg, requiring a pat down and re-scan.  No prosthetic parts, surgical screws, bolts, pins, split-pins, brackets, dyna-bolts, spare tools, etc. (zippo!) anywhere.  It's now become somewhat humerous, although the wife gives me 'that stare' as a warning to NOT crack a lewd joke about it.  Does this happen to anybody else?

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 167

Australia after these changes come in...

Airport A: laptops and liquids stay in, belt comes off.

Airport B: laptops and liquids come out, belt stays on.

FFS. We are not a third world country and can do MUCH better than this confusingly crappy melange of security standards.


09 May 2020

Total posts 566

“Smoother”? I doubt so.

Definitely not faster at the security line with newer body scanners (stand with the jazz hand, not the walk through) so we end up with the cabin bags are piling waiting for the pax to get thru the body scanners each taking at least 10-15 sec to be processed, and then because the bags are accumulating the 3D bag scanners does not move until the belt is cleared 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jun 2015

Total posts 37

Townsville has had these arrangements for a couple of years!  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Feb 2018

Total posts 11

Yes and Rockhampton had them even before that, a few of the regional airports have been upgraded some time ago yet the larger and intentional have not.  

Still very inconsistent in how the security contractors apply the rules across all major airports

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