12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
21 November, London Hilton Metropole
Restrictions on UK hand luggage are to be relaxed from next January, albeit with a range of government caveats.
Limiting British passengers to just one piece of cabin baggage has caused one of the greatest transport furores in the UK and has hit business travellers particularly hard.
Only able to carry one item through security has proved a constant headache as passengers have struggled to accommodate a laptop for example, together with an overnight bag, but it appears there may be some positive developments ahead.
Delivering the news to the Airport Operators Association”s annual conference yesterday (14 November), Secretary of State for Transport Ruth Kelly, cautioned that airports would still need to prove they could maintain existing security levels.
”We were clear from the beginning this was a temporary arrangement ” and that the one-bag rule would change once the industry had demonstrated its ability to screen passengers and bags to an acceptable standard,” she said.
”We are inviting each airport to submit plans to TranSec [transport security division] to take advantage of new technology, operational innovations and unexploited capacity in the system to make a real difference to passengers as soon as possible.”
Airports will have to prove to TranSec that they can increase capacity, while maintaining the stricter standards introduced following last summer”s foiled alleged plot to use liquid explosives to sabotage transatlantic flights. This could involve airports showing that they have invested in new staff, new technology, or both.
Early approvals have been delayed until 7 January, as Kelly maintains that the busy Christmas period will prove impracticable to introduce the new measures, but she nonetheless expects airports to ”submit plans during the next few months.”
The restrictions concerning liquids will remain in place with Kelly noting: The methods of attack that came to light last year are still available to terrorists. And so, the restrictions on liquids will remain for the foreseeable future ” initially in their current form, but evolving as new technologies and procedures allow.”
UK airports operator BAA, has welcomed the move, saying that: ”We have and are investing significantly in cutting edge security equipment, thereby ensuring we are ahead of the international competition.”