Once a technology/company has been shortlisted, the civil aviation ministry plans to conduct a trial at a metro airport.(HT/Picture for representation)
Once a technology/company has been shortlisted, the civil aviation ministry plans to conduct a trial at a metro airport.(HT/Picture for representation)

Air travellers may soon be allowed to carry liquids over 100ml

The civil aviation ministry is considering installing liquid explosive detectors at airports.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON SEP 25, 2018 07:52 AM IST

Air travellers in India might be able to carry water and other liquids such as shampoo (in excess of the current 100 ml limit) in their hand baggage, with the ministry of civil aviation considering installing testing liquid explosive detectors, according to officials familiar with the development.

While the process is still in the initial stage, and there’s no telling how long it will be before it will be instituted, the ministry recently reviewed presentations by some European firms on the latest technologies they use to scan liquids at airports.

Once a technology/company has been shortlisted, the ministry plans to conduct a trial at a metro airport, a civil aviation ministry official said on the condition of anonymity.

The ministry will then issue a list of liquids allowed in hand baggage. However, liquor that could be potential threats will not be allowed, this person added.

“The passenger will have to put the container in the detector and, within five seconds, it will tell the percentage of explosive in it. It gives 4-5 level of threat scenario, and based on that items can be allowed,” said a civil aviation ministry official.

The concept is not new. For years now, some airports, including those in the US and Europe, have been testing bottled liquid scanners, although they still restrict the quantity of liquid that can be carried (100ml of each at the most). Now, some of them are even experimenting with scanners that can check liquids in bottles inside the carry-on baggage, so as to save time. Once the ministry decides to opt for this technology, the Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) will have to frame the guidelines .

The restriction on liquids dates back to 2006, following an instance in the UK where liquid gel explosives were involved in an airport terror plot.

“We have been demanding liquid explosive detectors for a long time because many passengers argue to be allowed to carry liquids (in excess of 100 ml). The ministry has recently started meetings in this regard and trials will be conducted soon,” said an official of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) who asked not to be identified. The CISF is the agency that provides security to airports.

“If we have the technology that can detect liquid explosive, then we can move ahead and allow liquid in the hand baggage straight away,” said Mark Martin, founder and CEO of Dubai-based Martin Consulting.

In India, much like anywhere else in the world, liquid, gel and paste are allowed separately, in small quantities in one clear transparent resealable plastic bag.

Items allowed will include water, paste, shampoo, cosmetic gels, and medicine. Items that will remain prohibited are liquor, perfume, and other inflammable items.

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