Travellers in Australia will no longer be banned from taking liquids on international flights once new explosive detection equipment comes online, the federal government has announced, saying the machines would be installed by 2013.
Approval of new “multi-view explosive detection x-ray machines and bottled liquid scanners” follows trials at Sydney and Melbourne airports last year that saw the machines successful in detecting liquid explosives. The trails were conducted jointly with the US and UK.
At present, international passengers cannot carry any container of liquid larger than 100 ml onto an international flight. The government says passengers are forced to surrender an average of 1250 bottles of perfume, alcohol and other duty free items a month at Sydney Airport alone, in addition to 8000 “non valuable” items such as water bottles.
Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said ending the ban would mean one less inconvenience for passengers and would free security personnel to “concentrate on the real threats.”
The ban on liquids was imposed in 2006 after a failed attempt to use liquid explosives to blow up flights between Britain and North America.