Aviation leaders remain in the dark over hand luggage restrictions U-turn

Aviation leaders remain in the dark as to why the Department for Transport (DfT) reintroduced 100ml restrictions on liquids in hand luggage at all UK airports from Sunday or how long these will remain in place.

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”, saying it was “to enable further improvements to the new checkpoint systems” 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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The remaining 94% of passengers use UK airports where the 100ml liquids restrictions remain anyway.

A senior aviation source told Travel Weekly: “There is an outstanding issue, though we don’t know what, and the DfT wants some time to upgrade the technology. We don’t know how long this could remain in place. The department is being tight lipped.”

A leading airline source said: “They have identified something they aren’t happy with and are reviewing the process on liquids.

“You still don’t need to take liquids out of bags [at these six airports] – it’s the volumes of liquids which matter. It’s seen as temporary, but we’ve no idea how long it will be. This is classified stuff because it’s a security issue.”

The source noted: “Not even all the airports with the new scanners had changed their liquids rules, so the impact is not so great and better it happens now. We’re just trying to make everyone aware because we don’t want people turning up and having liquids confiscated.”

Passengers are best advised to expect restrictions on liquids at airport security wherever they fly from.

Birmingham airport blamed queues at security at the weekend on passengers being unaware restrictions remain in place.

Airport chief executive Nick Barton said: “We continually have non-compliant bags with liquids over the allowance which result in extended queuing times.”

The government had imposed a June 1 deadline for airports to install CT scanners, claiming it would mean “the era of the tiny toiletry is over”, but extended this in April after airports made clear the deadline could not be met.

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