Air safety: Rules relaxed by 2012

2010-09-27 22:44

Montreal - Airline passengers may once again be allowed to bring on board creams, gels and liquids that were banned over security concerns, the International Civil Aviation Organisation said on Monday.

"In the next two years (the ban) will end," Icao Secretary General Raymond Benjamin told AFP ahead of the UN organisation's 37th general assembly, which kicks off in Montreal on Tuesday.

New equipment capable of detecting explosives in water bottles, make-up kits or toothpaste tubes, for example, would be installed at most airport security checkpoints by 2012, he explained.

The unprecedented security measure took effect in 2006 after British police foiled a transatlantic plot to detonate liquid explosives aboard airliners flying to Canada and the United States.

Benjamin said controversial full body scanners, which some nations such as Italy want not to use, will still be in use to varying degrees at least in the short term, because they allow for quicker inspections and so reduce lines at airport security checkpoints.

Some countries may refuse to allow passengers to board aircraft unless they pass through the scanners, he added. Others may offer an alternative physical search.

The Icao conference, which concludes on October 8, will touch on three main themes: aviation security, safety and reducing its environmental impact.

Some 1 200 delegates are expected to attend the talks.