Airports to ease liquid ban

Airports to ease liquid ban

The European Commission has announced plans to relax the 100ml limit on carrying liquids, with the view to a full lifting of restrictions by 2013.

The liquids ban was introduced in August 2006 after terrorists were thwarted from trying to smuggle the liquid ingredient for a bomb onto an aircraft and mixing them during the flight.

But the strict guidelines on taking liquids through security gates has proved a source of irritation for passengers and added to security check delays.

The regulation was relaxed after a few months, with the imposition of a 100ml limit.

But this still created large amounts of waste, ranging from water bottles and baby food to shaving foam.

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The move comes as the security industry develops new machinery which it believes is capable of screening passengers and their luggage properly.

The new EU ruling will also mean transfer passengers will no longer have to surrender liquids they bought from duty free shops at the start of their journey if they were changing planes.

In October Martin Broughton, the British Airways chairman, called for the scrapping of what he described as “redundant” security measures.

Philip Hammond, the UK Transport Secretary, last month told the Transport Select Committee that he believed airline passengers were being subjected to more security checks than necessary,

“It is possible in some cases more searches than are necessary are being carried out. Different approaches using technology could eliminate risk,” he said.

“I am not suggesting we relax the standards we require. I am suggesting more flexibility.”

Last month Ian Hutcheson, the head of security at BAA, has called for an overhaul of how passengers are screened, warning that predictable airport security is giving terrorists an advantage.