The European Union will end current restrictions on liquids in air passengers’ hand luggage by April 2013 in an overhaul of aviation security, the EU’s executive said Thursday.
European airports will have to install new technology capable of detecting liquid explosives as a result of the move.
The ban on liquids came into force in Europe in 2006 after British police uncovered an al-Qaeda plot to blow up trans-atlantic airliners bound for North America using bombs made from liquid explosives.
Three Britons were jailed for life last September for their plan to destroy at least seven planes — carrying more than 200 passengers each — using explosives hidden in soft-drink bottles.
The security rules have led to scenes of frustration at airport security desks when passengers have been forced to throw away drinks containers, bottles of perfume and even tubes of sun cream before boarding planes.
“By 29 April 2013 at the latest, all liquids will be allowed in cabin baggage and will be screened,” the European Commission said in a statement.
As a preliminary step from April 2011, bottles of duty free drinks and perfumes bought at third country airports or on board third country airlines and carried in tamper-proof bags will be allowed and will be screened.
Currently, these liquids are only allowed in cabin baggage if they come from four countries – the United States, Canada, Singapore and Croatia.