Airports in talks to lift security ban on liquids

The government is in discussions with security companies and Britain's airports to lift the ban on liquids being carried in hand luggage as early as next year,
The Independent has learnt.

Technology already deployed at Heathrow's new Terminal 5 can automatically detect the presence of liquids in carry-on bags. Now, government scientists are running tests to see if the scanners can be adapted to pick out those that are harmful.

"The technology is there, which will allow these scanners not only to test for liquids but also to determine if those liquids are dangerous or not," said a security industry source. "At the moment, that technology is being tested by the security services and when they are happy that it works, the ban will be lifted."

The aviation industry is keen to see a change in the restrictions, brought in after intelligence experts believed they had foiled a plot to blow up airliners with liquid bombs in August 2006.

Yesterday, Virgin Atlantic said the "time may now be right" for a change in the security rules.

The renewed pleas come after the trial of eight men over the alleged plot. None of the group on trial was found guilty on the airliner charge but three were found guilty of conspiracy to murder. They had stood accused of using soft drinks bottles to disguise homemade bombs that would be used to blow up planes flying across the Atlantic.

Fears from security forces that a similar attack could be attempted saw severe restrictions on hand luggage immediately introduced.

The current restrictions, which limit the volume of liquid that can be carried by travellers in their hand luggage, has cost airport operators tens of millions of pounds to enforce.

Current rules dictate that bottles containing more than 100ml of liquid cannot be carried in hand luggage, while the amount of hand luggage that can be restrictions, which limit the volume of liquid that can be carried by travellers in their hand luggage, has cost airport operators tens of millions of pounds to enforce.

Airlines have complained that the rules make the UK's hubs less attractive to passengers. Analysts put the total cost of the liquid bomb plot to the industry at as much as £200m. The hand luggage restrictions dictate that bottles containing more than 100ml of liquid cannot be carried and only one bag is allowed.

BAA, which operates the UK's main airports Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, had to recruit 3,000 extra security staff to cope with the restrictions. It puts the total cost of the measures in the "tens of millions". "We have been calling for a review of the rules for a long time, along with many other airlines and airport operators," said Paul Charles, Virgin's head of communications.

"When you go to airports at the moment, you can see the confusion, with many people still bringing too many liquids. We believe that things could be made simpler for the public, to ensure the same rules are in place wherever you are travelling from in the world."

Four UK airports including Heathrow have bought scanners that will detect dangerous liquids and more are on order. It is believed the Government will not lift the restrictions until all major airports have the new technology.

ButThe Department of Transport said it took its lead from advice given by the joint intelligence analysis centre. It added that the recent bomb plot court case had proven that potential terrorists were already capable of creating bombs from domestic items.

"Aircraft could be vulnerable to such devices so we are right to continue to require the restrictions for liquids in hand luggage," said a spokeswoman.

"We are also right to require these restrictions internationally, as we are all at risk. We continue to work with international colleagues to develop technological detection methods which could ease the restrictions."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pillar 1, 2 & 3) Insurance

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pilla...

Manager - SAS - Data Warehouse - Banking

£350 - £365 per day: Orgtel: Manager, SAS, Data Warehouse, Banking, Bristol - ...

Web Analyst – Permanent – West Sussex – Up to £43k

£35000 - £43000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment