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Carry on restrictions to be maintained

Confusion reigned in European aviation earlier, when the European Commission advised states to defer the lifting of a ban on carrying liquids onto planes.

Originally planned to be partially lifted on Friday, plans had to be abandoned at the last minute due to a lack of coordination.

Approximately half of the EU member states had planned to lift the ban yesterday. Thus, in order to avoid confusion for passengers the lifting was banned.

At present passengers are forbidden to take containers of more than 100ml onto all flights in the EU.

“It is clear a situation at European airports which leads to confusion for air passengers as to whether they can travel with ‘duty-free liquids’, in particular for connecting flights to the United States, should be avoided,” Siim Kallas, the European commissioner for transport issues, said.

“Therefore, the restrictions on carrying ‘duty-free’ liquids purchased outside the EU through European airports should remain in place until passengers can travel with certainty.”

The ban on liquids on board flights was imposed after British police uncovered a plot to blow up transatlantic airliners using bombs made from liquid explosives.

The EU is aiming to lift the liquids ban entirely by April 2013 and wanted to begin with a partial lifting from Friday, but many member states remained concerned about the security risk, and are not satisfied with new liquids scanning equipment.

The European airlines association AEA said the postponement had been necessary to avoid confusion at airports.

“We need a harmonised approach, not a fragmented patchwork of national policies.

“EU member states must deliver on their commitments and implement pro-consumer decisions in a unified way,” Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, AEA secretary general, said in a statement.