EC still undecided on allowing passengers to carry liquids in hand baggage

The European Commission (EC) has postponed taking a decision on allowing passengers to carry liquids in their hand baggage.

The EC had previously banned passengers from carrying liquids in hand baggage as a security measure, and it had set itself a deadline of April 2013 for the removal of the current restrictions. Authorities said that the decision was taken following consultations with stakeholders and trials conducted at airports.

In a statement, the commission said that the decision was ‘based on results of trials carried out at a number of EU airports and on extensive consultations with a wide group of stakeholders. The risk posed by liquid explosives to civil aviation is still significant.’ It added that 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.’

However, the EC was optimistic that security measures being developed in this regard, especially the Liquid Explosive Detection Systems, have made considerable progress to adequately address prevalent risks. It added that it would be able to remove restrictions on carrying liquids in airlines, only in a phased manner.

The EC said that it hoped that from January 2014 ‘passengers should be able to carry on board all duty free LAGs provided that they are screened and then bring forward proposals for subsequent phases to achieve the final objective of screening all LAGs at the earliest possible date.’

The restrictions were introduced in August 2006, after a plot to detonate liquid explosives inside an aircraft travelling from the UK to the United States and Canada was exposed.