Liquids in hand luggage rules to be relaxed... but not for EU passengers

1 Aug 2007 by business traveller

The European Commission has announced plans to partially relax the strict rules on carrying liquids in hand luggage through EU airports, but only for those passengers transiting from airports in other parts of the world with "good levels of aviation security".

The decision has been reached to try to cut down the number of duty free bottles confiscated from passengers transiting through the EU, which has been estimated at up to two tonnes per day at some major EU hubs. The problem arises when a passenger travelling, say, from New York to mainland Europe, via London Heathrow, makes a duty free purchase at the US airport, only for it to be confiscated at security in London.

In a statement the Commission said that third-country airports would be exempted from the current liquid laws "on a case-by-case basis", with decisions on these exemptions expected to start in the autumn.

"If the Commission considers the security measures applied by third countries in relation to liquids as equivalent and the country also applies satisfactory overall standards of aviation security, the Commission will decide to grant exemptions," said the Commission executive. "This will allow transit passengers arriving from these countries to carry their purchases onto their internal EU flight."

Note though that this rule applies to duty free purchases only, so passengers travelling from a country where the maximum limit of 100ml per individual container does not apply, will still have non-duty free purchases (eg: cosmetics and toiletries brought from home) confiscated during transit at EU airports.

Report by Mark Caswell

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