Airport Operators Association criticises government liquids U-turn

The Airport Operators Association (AOA) has criticised the government’s decision to reintroduce 100ml restrictions on liquids in hand luggage at UK airports.

The DfT announced late last Friday it was reintroducing the restrictions at the six UK airports which had relaxed these after installing new 3D computer tomography (CT) security scanners which enable liquids in normal size containers to remain in cabin bags.

It described the move as “temporary” and pointed out it would “only affect a small number of passengers” – those flying from London City, Newcastle, Leeds-Bradford, Aberdeen, Southend and Teesside airports – about 6% of the total each day.

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But the AOA said the U-turn has confused passengers and frustrated airport operators as they prepare for the summer ramp-up.

“These latest changes announced on Friday, instigated with very little notice, have created uncertainty for passengers just as airports enter their busiest periods of the year,” said Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association.

“It has also put airport operators in a challenging position, with very limited time to prepare for the additional staffing and wider resources that this will require, and no clear idea of when this issue will be resolved.”

Aviation leaders told Travel Weekly they were left in the dark as to why the rules were reinstated and did not know how long they would remain in place for, claiming “the department is being tight-lipped”.

“It’s seen as temporary, but we’ve no idea how long it will be,” said a leading airline source, adding: “This is classified stuff because it’s a security issue.”

Dee of the AOA went on to urge passengers to have patience when passing through airport security following the reintroduction of restrictions.

“Airports are doing all that they can to mitigate the impact of this for passengers,” she added. “We ask that all passengers please bear with us and ensure that liquids are carried in containers no larger than 100ml, until advised otherwise.

“The safety and security of staff, passengers and airport communities is our number one priority, and everyone should be assured that airports will never compromise on this.”

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