Air security relaxed for us but not others

Monday's relaxation of the UK security regulations banning liquids from aircraft cabins may seem like good news, but not if you are travelling from other parts of Europe or from further afield.

Writing, as I do, for British travellers I tend to take a UK-centric view on these things but a warning from PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) that arrived in my in-tray this morning reminded me that a pan-European synchronisation of air security might ease restrictions for us, but introduces new ones for other countries who hadn't banned liquids.

The alert warned...

UK Asia Pacific travellers taking a flight which transits through Europe could be in for rude shock from next Monday – some of their duty free purchases could be confiscated by airport security.

Under new European Union (EU) regulations effective from November 6, 2006, passengers on flights from non-EU airports transferring at an EU airport will have any liquids, pastes and gels in containers over 100 ml confiscated at the security checkpoint.

The items will be confiscated even if they were bought at a licensed duty free shop at the originating airport or on board the aircraft en route to the EU airport if it was flown by a non-EU carrier.

According to the President of the European Travel Retail Council (ETRC), Mr. Frank O’Connell, the changes are likely to cause “chaos” at airports throughout Europe.

The new rules are in response to the recent foiled terrorist attacks in the UK, allegedly involving the planned use of liquid explosives on trans-Atlantic flights.

The confiscation rule does not apply to non-EU passengers who arrive at an EU airport, clear customs and depart the airport. It only applies to those transiting to another destination.

Under the new rules, any passenger departing an EU airport will be allowed to carry small amounts of liquid – such as toiletries, lotions and perfumes – on board within the following limit: a total of 500 ml in five separate containers, each a maximum of 100 ml, carried in a clear plastic re-sealable bag.

If you’re a non-EU traveller transiting through Europe and you want to take a bottle of liquor or eau de cologne over 100 ml to your final destination, make sure you purchase it at a duty free store beyond check-in at the EU transit airport – and not at your point of departure or on board the aircraft if you are travelling on a non-EU airline.

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and other industry groups are calling on national governments, security agencies and aviation authorities to come together to develop a consistent set of global guidelines to avoid widespread confusion and disruption.


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