IATA to standardise laws on carrying liquids and gels on board

"Technology can deal with liquids better than the current ban. While liquids are a threat, the next generation of security screening should be able to scan for liquids explosives," International Air Transport Association (IATA) Director (Security) of North America Ken Dunlap said.

Passengers now have to keep limited quantities of gels, liquids and aerosols in plastic handbag and put them in a separate bin during security check at airports.

Stressing the need to remove confusion and uncertainty at checkpoints over the ban, he said technology needs to work not just in the laboratories but in the real world.

"Work needs to be done by the manufacturers of X-ray machines and regulators (on having common security standards). They are not ready today," Dunlap said.

Maintaining that adoption of new software should make this possible, he said the changes should be "in place in the next 18-24 months. We need to return common sense back to the screening process."

The Geneva-based IATA has also started talks with several Governments to standardise laws on carrying liquids and gels on board the aircraft in an attempt to make air travel more convenient.

IATA is a representative body of all major passenger and cargo airlines.
Dunlap said some countries like Singapore, US, Australia and Canada have already started working on adopting a common strategy on standardising laws on carrying liquids.

Stressing the need to remove confusion and uncertainty at checkpoints over the ban, Dunlap said technology needs to work not just in the laboratories but in the real world.

The IATA has been focussing on three basic principles -- respecting the passenger, global coordination and the use of one bin for scanning throughout the world, he said.

IATA officials said global coordination was required as the current ban on carrying liquids was created and agreed to first as a coordinated effort between the European Union, United States and other key countries.

The changes in security laws on carrying of these items in hand baggage were carried out by other governments only after the matter was taken up by the United Nation's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and IATA.

The officials said that instead of working in isolation, all governments must "pro-actively cooperate with each other and recognise each other's measures."

IATA is also pushing countries to adopt "one-stop security" - a process avoiding a second security screening for the 325 million passengers who transfer every year, they said.

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