The European Union has confirmed restrictions preventing passengers carrying liquids onto aircraft will remain in place until April 2013.
By this time all European airports must be equipped with scanners to monitor liquids carried by passengers under new European Commission rules – theoretically cutting risks.
At present passengers are restricted to containers of 100ml or less, which must be carried in a clear plastic bag measuring no more than 20cm by 20cm.
After the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York, the EU adopted its first common rules on aviation security in early 2002.
The rules included detailed provisions on access to sensitive areas or airports, aircraft security, passenger screening and baggage handling, control of cargo and mail, staff screening and training, and items prohibited on board planes or in airports.
Before 2002, each member state had its own rules for aviation security.
The rules were tightened further in 2006 following further terrorist activity, with the EU now going some way to addressing passenger concerns.
As a preliminary step in phasing out the restrictions on liquids, as from April 29th 2011 at the latest, duty-free liquids purchased at third country airports or on board third country airlines and carried in tamper evident bags will be allowed as cabin baggage and will be screened.
At present, these liquids are only allowed in cabin baggage if they come from selected third countries (United States, Canada, Singapore and Croatia).
Siim Kallas, Commission vice-president in charge of transport, said: “A lot has been learnt since the first EU-wide rules putting in place common aviation security standards were put in place after September 11th.
“This is about building on the experience of recent years and streamlining procedures, so that on a daily basis security controls are easier for industry to implement.
“For passengers, the aim is also to simplify wherever possible the necessary security controls.
“In that sense this package takes a significant step forwards in signalling the beginning of the end for the current restrictions on liquids in cabin baggage, with a clear and final deadline of April 2013,” he concluded.