Airports criticise U-turn on liquids rules

UK airports have criticised the Department for Transport’s sudden re-introduction of 100ml limits on liquids in hand luggage.

Some regional airports across the country had scrapped the tight restrictions after installing new high-tech scanning equipment.

The Airport Operators Association, the trade body for UK airports, said that the change in the rules, with very little notice, had “created uncertainty for passengers just as airports enter their busiest periods of the year”.

Under the rules, liquids, creams, gels and pastes can only be kept in hand luggage in containers of 100ml or less. These containers must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag.

Since last year, passengers have been able to take up to two litres of liquids in their hand luggage through security at airports where high-tech CT scanners are installed. However, that was reversed last weekend.

The Department for Transport said that the “temporary” move was to enable further improvements to be made to the new checkpoint systems.

According to a BBC News report, the government department felt it had to move quickly after receiving some new information about the scanners, and will lift the restrictions once the issue has been resolved.

Airports are investing hundreds of millions of pounds to upgrade equipment and processes, said Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association.

The U-turn liquid limits had put airport operators in a “challenging position”, with limited time to prepare for the additional staffing and wider resources required, Dee added.