The 100ml limit on liquids, aerosols and gels in air passengers’ hand luggage is to be retained for the foreseeable future, the European Commission has confirmed.
The EU had been ready to lift the restriction in April next year, but has now postponed this because some airports lack the necessary security systems to deal with these items carried in hand luggage.
The Commission said that it had reached the decision “based on results of trials carried out at a number of EU airports and on extensive consultations with a wide group of stakeholders”.
It added that the risk posed by liquid explosives to civil aviation was “still significant” and said its assessment “indicates that the removal of the LAGs [liquids, aerosols and gels] restrictions on April 2013, as currently envisaged in EU law, could present a considerable operational risk mainly due to the scale of the change”.
The Commission said security systems’ manufacturers had made considerable progress in new screening systems but concluded that a phased approach will be necessary to introduce the screening of liquids.
It is now aiming for January 2014 as the first phase of loosening the restrictions. This is when transit passengers will be able to take on board duty free, provided it has been screened. However, it is only recommending this date as one when passengers “should be able” to do this.
Airports Council International Europe said the postponement had the backing of Europe’s airports. ACI director general Olivier Jankovec said:
“As much as we would like to get rid of the existing restrictions on the carriage of LAGs, the trials carried out at several European airports have shown that the technology allowing for that just isn’t there yet.”
Restrictions were introduced in August 2006 following the discovery of a plot to detonate liquid explosives on aircraft travelling from the UK to the US and Canada.