The security systems, which have been tested at air terminals since 2009, scan through passengers’ clothes, creating a detailed ghost-like image of the naked body. The scan is then viewed by security staff.
Critics said the machines invaded passengers’ privacy and the radiation they generate raised the risk of cancer. Some Muslim groups also refused to walk through them on religious grounds.
The European Commission ruled that the cancer risk was ‘close to zero’ but, under Brussels legislation, the three-year trial period has elapsed and it has decided not to ‘prioritise’ them for permanent use across the continent.
Airport bosses who were waiting for the green light on the machines now say they have been left with no option but to remove them.
The scanners will be replaced with ‘privacy-friendly’ machines which use radio-frequency technology.
Manchester airport, which is the last in Britain to be still using ‘naked’ scanners, said it will now have to spend £1.1million to replace them with the new devices.
It will also have to hire dozens of extra security staff to frisk passengers manually.
The airport’s chief operating officer Andrew Harrison said: ‘We’re baffled by this situation because health experts say they are safe, plus the overwhelming majority of our passengers and security staff prefer body scanners to frisking.
‘It’s frustrating that Brussels has allowed this successful trial to end.’